If there was one person who was the voice of Colorado’s automobile industry, it was Tim Jackson, CEO for the past 18 years of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association.
On Friday morning, CADA announced that it was “parting ways” with Jackson and that it had appointed Matthew Groves, vice president of legal, regulatory & compliance, as interim CEO effective immediately. The change comes just 12 days before the start of the Denver Auto Show, which is returning to the Colorado Convention Center for the first time since 2019.
Groves, an attorney who has been at CADA since September 2017, said dismissal was a decision made between Jackson and the CADA board of directors at a recent meeting and that he was not privy to those conversations.
“I understand that he has some big plans,” said Groves, who described Jackson as the person who hired him and served as a mentor to him.
CADA lauded Jackson for his efforts in leading auto dealers through the Great Recession of 2008 to 2010 and the group’s merger with the Metro Denver Automobile Dealers Association. He also was at the helm of the longest stretch of sustained growth the group had seen in its 121-year history during the 2010s. He also helped it navigate the pandemic, where access to showrooms was briefly limited and supply-chain issues, especially for computer chips, contributed to severe inventory shortages.
Jackson launched several initiatives while CEO at the auto association, including the Clear the Air Foundation, which sought to improve air quality by taking 6,000 older vehicles off the road. He also created the Green Car Parade and the Innovative Dealer Summit and launched the Colorado Automotive Hall of Fame, which will induct him later this year.
Jackson, who landed in the state in 1997, was a lobbyist for the industry, helping get more than two dozen significant changes to Colorado’s Motor Vehicle Franchise Law. Almost all the bills CADA tried to push through passed with strong bipartisan support between 2011 and 2018.
But he cast a wider net and was active on Denver’s social scene and was well-known in political, media and nonprofit circles. He is also an avid bicyclist, logging between 3,000 to 4,000 miles a year, according to an interview he did with Westword last year. Jackson suffered a serious crash on his bike last year that took him away from his duties while he recovered.
Jackson is also a commercial pilot who survived the crash of his plane in 1985. While driving on Colorado 82, he witnessed the fatal crash of a Gulfstream III in 2001 that killed 18 people at Aspen’s Sandy Field.
Groves said that CADA was set up to have a great event at the 2023 Denver Auto Show despite Jackson’s departure.
“We are on track to make a smooth transition back into the Colorado Convention Center,” he said.
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