Brand Director, Penske Automotive Group, Bloomfield Township
Employees: 19,900 Revenue: $14.7 billion Education: Ohio State University
At first, Niall Hay thought he would be a banker — but his parents, both physicians, envisioned their son as a lawyer. After earning an economics degree, Hay landed an interview with Detroit Diesel in Livonia, and went to work for Roger Penske in sales and marketing. Soon after, Detroit Diesel was sold and Hay left and joined Penske Automotive Group, which today operates more than 325 dealerships in the United States, western Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.
“Since I started, the company has grown four or five times (in size),” Hay says. “Today, I’m a brand manager for Fiat and Chrysler, and soon Alfa Romeo. Every day is a little different.” Hay worked on e-commerce initiatives before being promoted to brand manager in March. “The best way to describe what I do is acting as a representative between the manufacturer and our dealership group. We work on promotions, performance, personnel, and financing, all the while keeping excellent customer service at the forefront,” he says. “People want to do business with people they like, so we do everything we can to satisfy our customers.”
Outside of work, Hay is a partner at Cornerstone Schools in Detroit, where he helps mentor students and prepare them for college. He’s also working with others to re-form a chapter of the First Tee in Detroit, a nonprofit organization that teaches the game of golf to students and provides an array of life skills programs.