Sonic Automotive Announces Retirement of Rachel Richards and Promotion of Dino Bernacchi to Chief Marketing Officer

Rachel Richards Retires After a Distinguished 40-Year Career in the Automotive Industry

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Sonic Automotive, Inc. (“Sonic’’ or the “Company”) (NYSE:SAH), a Fortune 500 Company and one of the nation’s largest automotive and powersports retailers, today announced the retirement of Rachel Richards as the company’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO). Dino Bernacchi will be promoted to Chief Marketing Officer of the company effective May 1, 2024.

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Rachel Richards, Sonic Automotive, Inc. (Photo: Business Wire)

Rachel Richards, Sonic Automotive, Inc. (Photo: Business Wire)

Rachel Richards joined Sonic Automotive in 2006 as the company’s Vice President of Retail Strategy and became the company’s first Chief Marketing Officer in 2014. Rachel has been a pivotal member of the executive team for almost two decades, spearheading Sonic Automotive’s strategic planning process and having operational leadership responsibility for traffic management, business application development, website management, brand marketing, guest experience and loyalty, and digital and social media marketing. In addition to successfully navigating the company through the advertising industry revolution of traditional to digital marketing, she was the strategic creator and operational owner of Sonic Automotive’s Guest Experience Center, handling inbound and outbound guest communications via digital transformation. In addition to her many operational and strategic contributions, Rachel’s passion for and commitment to developing others was present throughout her career, most recently having served as the executive sponsor of the company’s Women’s Leadership Program when it launched in 2022.

Dino Bernacchi will replace Richards upon her retirement. Bernacchi joined the company in October 2021 as the Chief Marketing Officer for EchoPark Automotive. In his position with EchoPark Automotive, Bernacchi elevated the company’s brand positioning, marketing efficiencies, and effectiveness, which led the team to receive a YouTube Excellence Award in 2023 for best-in-class search and brand lift based on the company’s new creative and branding approach which resulted in a 92% growth in brand search. Most recently, his responsibilities expanded to include marketing strategy and execution for the company’s newly launched Powersports division. Bernacchi is an automotive industry veteran, having spent most of his career with retailers such as General Motors, Mazda, and Harley-Davidson, managing every facet of marketing, including but not limited to local market retail digital marketing and advertising, e-commerce, customer relationship management, sponsorships, entertainment marketing, customer call centers, traditional advertising, research, analytics, and non-traditional marketing efforts. Upon this promotion, Bernacchi assumes responsibility for Sonic Automotive’s franchise dealership marketing and retains marketing responsibility for EchoPark Automotive and Sonic Powersports.

“Rachel’s deep industry knowledge and forward-thinking approach have been instrumental in helping shape Sonic Automotive into what it is today and our ability to develop and maintain a world-class guest experience. We wish her the best as she embarks on an exciting new phase of life with her retirement,” said David B. Smith, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Sonic Automotive. “Dino hit the ground running when he joined our team in 2021, and we’re excited to see him bring that same enthusiasm and strategic vision to lead our franchise marketing operations.”

“Rachel’s strategic vision has made a tremendous impact on our company over the past 18 years, and she’s leaving our team well-positioned for continued marketing strategy execution and success,” said Jeff Dyke, President of Sonic Automotive. “We are thrilled to have Dino serve as the CMO for our franchise marketing operations and leverage the same creativity and automotive industry knowledge he’s brought to our EchoPark and Powersports teams.”

About Sonic Automotive

Sonic Automotive, Inc., a Fortune 500 company based in Charlotte, North Carolina, is on a quest to become the most valuable diversified automotive retail and service brand in America. Our Company culture thrives on creating, innovating, and providing industry-leading guest experiences, driven by strategic investments in technology, teammates, and ideas that ultimately fulfill ownership dreams, enrich lives, and deliver happiness to our guests and teammates. As one of the largest automotive and powersports retailers in America, we are committed to delivering on this goal while pursuing expansive growth and taking progressive measures to be the leader in these categories. Our new platforms, programs, and people are set to drive the next generation of automotive and powersports experiences. More information about Sonic Automotive can be found at and

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Source: Sonic Automotive, Inc.