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Monro changes name, elects new directors

Monro Muffler Brake Inc. is ushering in a new era of leadership as well as a new name to reflect the 60-year-old company’s new direction.

At its annual meeting last week, Monro shareholders approved a proposal to change the automotive undercar repair and tire sales company to Monro Inc. The name change represents a milestone in the company’s history as it crossed the $1 billion sales mark for the first time, officials said.

The name change will apply to Monro’s corporate entity only and will not affect any of the company’s store brand names.

In July, Monro reported record first-quarter sales, beating Street estimates, and said it would acquire 20 stores, including eight from an existing Car-X franchisee. The stores fill in existing markets in Michigan, Illinois and Indiana, and are expected to add $13 million in annualized sales.

In June, Monro announced President and CEO John Van Heel would not seek to renew his contract with the company when it expires in October. Monro named Brett Ponton as the company’s next president and CEO.

Additionally, Monro chairman and former CEO Robert Gross retired from the board and the company at the conclusion last week’s shareholder meeting. Robert Mellor was elected as independent chairman.

Van Heel, who has served as CEO and a director since 2012, will continue to act as an adviser to the company through March 2018. In July, Van Heel sold nearly 47,000 shares of company stock, valued at $2.2 million; the following day he sold nearly 130,000 shares of company stock, valued at more than $6 million.

On Aug. 2 Gross sold nearly 65,000 shares, valued at more than $3 million. Both Mellor and Ponton have purchased a number of shares in the last few weeks.

Also at the annual meeting, Monro shareholders elected John Auerbach and Lindsay Hyde to its board of directors. Auerbach is the founder and chairman of Eloquii, a digitally native direct to consumer women’s fashion brand. Hyde is founder and CEO of Baroo, a provider of pet-related amenities in multifamily communities in large urban markets across the U.S.

“With John’s digital marketing and ecommerce expertise and Lindsay’s recognized expertise in service delivery, their experience and insights will be invaluable in guiding our company as we continue to execute on our long-term strategy and capitalize on the opportunities we see in the marketplace,” Mellor said in a statement.

Shares of company stock (Nasdaq: MNRO) were trading up 2 percent Monday from Friday’s close of $44.30.

Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

(c) 2017 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-363-7269 or email madams@bridgetowermedia.com.

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