Forty years after its inception, Destination Auto Group has made a leadership change with Adil Ahamed becoming President and CEO.
He is taking over from his father, Aziz, who founded the British Columbia-based company in 1983. Aziz will become Chairman of the Board and continue to provide guidance and strategic direction.
“I knew I wanted to work with the family at some stage. I love cars,” said Adil in an interview with Canadian auto dealer. “Those things naturally brought me back, but I also knew I wanted to pursue (something) outside to get some experience and cut my teeth and build a network. I had full blessings from my dad to do that.”
Adil had been working as managing director of the business. Both father and son are recipients of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association Laureate Award for Innovation. Adil was honoured in 2022, and his father in 2019.
He joined Destination Auto Group in 2012 after completing his Masters of Business Administration at Columbia Business School. Previous to that he worked internationally with Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs in New York, as well as the Aga Khan Development Network through its microfinance entities in Switzerland and Tajikistan.
Adil said that neither he nor his brother Azeem were pressured by their father to join the family business. But there was an understanding that graduating with an MBA from an accredited university was a must, along with five years of upper management or board level experience. He said some of the business skills he learned working outside of the company have helped since he joined the family business.
“Those experiences were completely priceless,” said Adil. “You never really know what you’re going to learn until you go out and do that. You come back and 10-15 years later I’m finding I’m using a lot of those skills you need in a dealership environment. To get that from a broader perspective was very useful.”
During his time with the company, Adil has focused on creating a culture of operational excellence driven by strong ethical practices, innovation, communication and capacity building.
“It’s not all about the dollars,” said Adil. “It’s about building a culture, building a team, and having the right certain mindset to do that in a way that preserves our family reputation.”
The leadership transition represents the company’s continued focus on new technologies, customer service, and operational excellence.