Peter Leto, Foundation Direct CEO

Google’s Former Head of Automotive Retail Joins Foundation Direct as CEO

Peter Leto Appointed CEO of Foundation Direct, Effective Monday, Feb. 10, 2020

Peter Leto, Foundation Direct CEOFoundation Direct, a new technology and consulting company offering automotive marketers an industry-leading option to “Go Direct” with their digital advertising, is pleased to announce Peter Leto as their Chief Executive Officer. Peter joins Foundation Direct after 11 years at Google, where he served as Head of Industry for both the Automotive Retail Sales and General Motors business units.

“We wanted a CEO that would model honesty, transparency, and integrity from day one. Anyone who has met Peter knows he fits that bill,” says Foundation Direct co-founder Andrew Diffenderfer. “He has an undeniable track record of anticipating where the industry is headed, giving him the ability to prioritize his customers’ best interests and future-proof the business.”

In 2011, Peter began building Google’s Automotive Retail division. Known for dealer advocacy inside Google’s walls, Peter quickly became an industry staple as the beloved face of Google by both dealers and partners alike. During Leto’s tenure, Google partnered closely with OEMs to modernize dealer programs and improve cross-tier digital advertising efforts. Leto also led Google to begin consulting regional ad associations and automotive groups, arming both with valuable insight into regional-specific demand trends to capture missed opportunities to convert more customers to sales.

“It’s an honor to be reunited with former teammates to bring this exciting new solution to the industry,” says Leto. “When I first joined the automotive retail space, digital marketing was confusing and time-consuming, especially for auto dealers. Implementing, optimizing, and reporting on a digital campaign was a huge undertaking that required a lot of manual work. As a result, dealers began outsourcing their digital advertising to agencies. Yet, as the industry evolved and technology advanced, some agencies just couldn’t keep up, and their strategies were not aligned to the dealerships’ best interests,” explains Leto.

“Fast forward to today, and we have seen a dramatic shift in what is possible – both for the individual dealer and for OEMs, regional associations, and auto groups. The industry is no longer questioning what digital advertising is or why it’s important, but rather how to do it better. I’m excited to help provide an automated, tech-driven solution that will empower all automotive marketers to execute a digital strategy with ease and transparency,” says Leto.

“Peter is honest and fair. He tells you like it is in a respectful way and approaches clients’ business with advice and recommendations as if it were his own company,” says co-founder Tim Mueller. “At his core, he stands for the principles of Foundation, which is exactly why he’s a perfect fit to lead our company.”

Peter is from the Motor City, where he still lives with his wife and two daughters. A graduate of the University of Michigan, he started his career in TV ad sales with Turner Broadcasting (TBS/TNT) before joining Google in 2008. From 2008-2011, Peter worked in Google’s B2B Vertical, supporting large manufacturers like 3M, Newell Rubbermaid, and Dow Chemical, where he first learned about co-op marketing models.

Leto will join fellow teammate and COO Ashley Lepczyk in strengthening Foundation Direct’s footprint in metro Detroit.

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Ashley Lepczyk, Chief Operating Officer, Foundation Direct

Foundation Snags Long-Time Googler As COO To Accelerate New “Go Direct” Model

Ashley Lepczyk Appointed COO of Foundation Direct, effective Nov 25, 2019

Ashley LepczykFoundation Direct, a new technology and consulting company offering Automotive marketers an industry-leading option to take control of their digital advertising strategy by going direct to the largest digital media companies, today announced the appointment of Ashley Lepczyk as their Chief Operating Officer. Ashley joins Foundation Direct after 12 years at Google, where she worked on Automotive both in the US and globally.

“Ashley is known among her peers for having the tenacity to tackle large, complex challenges with positivity and enthusiasm, and has built deep relationships in both the automotive and tech industries along the way,” says Co-Founder Andrew Diffenderfer. “Her experience consulting the largest Automotive Digital Agencies, OEMs and Auto Groups, along with thousands of dealers, has given her a unique understanding of the complex — and sometimes systemic — challenges Foundation is solving for. All this — plus her ability to link a long term vision to day to day execution — is why bringing Ashley onboard as our COO made total sense, especially as we continue to grow.”

Lepczyk brings with her extensive insight on large-scale operations from her time at Google, where she spearheaded efforts to streamline the tech giant’s go-to-market strategy across multiple orgs and a $1B book of business. As a founding member of Google’s Automotive Retail team, she advised OEMs on designing successful digital advertising programs for their dealers and worked closely with both Auto Groups and Agency partners to demonstrate the business impact that digital marketing delivers for dealers and the incremental opportunity that still exists.

“I’m thrilled to be joining this uniquely disruptive company,” said Lepczyk. “My time at Google provided me the privilege of collaborating with automotive agencies and demo’ing the technologies that execute a large portion of dealerships’ digital marketing dollars. While there are some admirable options out there, nothing provided both the power and simplicity that I felt automotive marketers need to succeed in today’s digital environment. The solution that Foundation Direct has architected delivers the most impressive performance against true business outcomes and is intuitive and easy to use. I truly believe this will be a game-changing solution and am honored to play a role in bringing it to the industry.”

Ashley led the release of Google’s first ever Dealer Guidebook, which outlined a step-by-step process for maximizing Google’s tools and solutions at the dealership level. During her tenure, she successfully partnered with professionals in every level of leadership across sales, marketing, product engineering, analytics and more.

“Ashley’s ability to simplify highly complex topics into easily digestible concepts are the best in the business,” says Co-Founder Tim Mueller. “No automotive dealer or Auto Group needs more reports, they need better insights into what drives their business forward – Ashley can deliver just that – and that’s why we hired her”.

Lepczyk is an active advocate for women, in Automotive and beyond. Before joining Foundation Direct, she helped to lead Detroit’s Women@Google community and was responsible for initiating Google’s support of and participation in the Women In Automotive Conference. She is also Co-Founder of Mama In The Making, an online program that prepares pregnant women for the transition to motherhood and helps organizations support and retain their top female talent.

Lepczyk will extend Foundation Direct’s footprint with a location in metro Detroit.

Foundation Direct will be visiting major metro cities through the end of 2019 and early 2020. Please reach out to roadshow@foundationdirect.com for information on dates and locations.

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Foundation Direct

Two Former Googlers Disrupt Conventional Agency Model With New “Go Direct” Solution

Auto dealers enjoy innovative solution to digital marketing

Two former Google employees, both with extensive experience in the Automotive space, have recently left the tech giant to launch Foundation Direct, an industry-leading option for Automotive marketers to take control of their digital advertising strategy by going direct to the largest digital media companies.

“We created this company to give the industry a better option,” says Andrew Diffenderfer, Co-Founder of Foundation Direct. “We saw current automotive ad agencies overcomplicating digital marketing, using outdated strategies and tactics to do what technology can now do better, faster, and with higher levels of accuracy.”

Foundation Direct provides a robust technology platform that connects industry-leading automation with inventory, pricing and incentives. It integrates directly into Google, YouTube, Facebook and Microsoft, saving advertisers time and money while maximizing dealer profitability.

“We want to make it simple for dealers to have the best possible digital strategy without any headaches or frustration,” says Tim Mueller, Co-Founder of Foundation Direct. “This direct route provides unparalleled transparency into where dealers’ ad dollars are spent, and reduces administrative costs that are unnecessary given the technology we have today.”

During their time at Google, Diffenderfer and Mueller helped build Google’s Automotive Retail division, where they worked with thousands of dealers who faced similar challenges and shared similar sentiments.

“Google taught us how to think big and simple: how to use technology to solve problems. Leveraging tech to automate and customize your ad strategy allows you to move at the speed of the customer and differentiate your dealership,” said Diffenderfer.

While Foundation Direct aims to support the automotive industry with their “Go Direct” model, their solution also helps large tech partners by ensuring the ads served on their properties are as relevant and useful as possible to the end user.

“Today, a portion of a dealer’s budget goes straight to their agency or their OEM. Our platform ensures 100% of their ad spend goes directly into the media, giving the dealer total control of their strategy,” says Mueller.

Foundation Direct will be visiting major metro cities through November and December. Please reach out to roadshow@foundationdirect.com for information on dates and locations.

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