Just a few months after replacing founder Tony Aquila at the helm, Solera CEO Jeff Tarr has stepped down.
The Audatex and APU parent company announced Tarr’s departure Tuesday and said board member Darko Dejanovic, an operating principal for Solera owners Vista Equity, would serve as interim CEO.
“Solera’s brands, market presence and product offerings provide a tremendous foundation for the company’s continued and expanded growth,” Dejanovic said in a statement. “I want to thank Jeff for his contributions and steering the business toward a focus on customers and growth. I look forward to continuing my work with Solera’s team and board, as we position the company for continued success.”
Tarr, a former DigitalGlobe CEO and IHS chief operating officer, was announced as Aquila’s successor in May. The board at the time had felt Tarr was better positioned to take Solera through its next step of growth, which would involve spending on its products and offering a leading experience for users and business partners.
Court documents later revealed a messy breakup between Aquila and Solera.
An open letter to Solera customers from Solera board member and Vista Equity principal Christian Sowul said Tarr “informed us he will be stepping down. We are grateful for Jeff’s contributions and focus on customers and growth, and we wish him the best.”
“As Mr. Dejanovic’s role is interim, we are not commenting further on this matter and will not be providing additional materials at this time,” Solera global director of public and analyst relations Olivia Griner wrote in an email Thursday when asked for a photo of Dejanovic.
Solera said Dejanovic had worked “side-by-side” with Solera leadership on an examination of the company “that identified the opportunities for continued growth and enhanced products and customer service.” That could be promising for users of the company’s various products for the collision repair ecosystem.
Dejanovic sits on multiple boards. His career includes time as CEO and Chief Technology, Product and Innovation Officer at the ACTIVE Network.
“Darko’s extensive experience leading enterprise software companies through various phases of transition and growth make him uniquely qualified to serve as Solera’s Interim CEO as the company continues its focus on its products, customer service, talent and growth,” Sowul said in a statement. “As a director on Solera’s board, Darko has a deep understanding of the company and industry and will be able to leverage the opportunities for growth that lie ahead.”
Solera said customers shouldn’t be affected by the change.
“This transition will not affect our day-to-day operations or our commitment to you,” Sowul wrote to customers. “You should continue to reach out to your normal customer representatives as you always have. Given Darko’s long-term involvement in Solera, we expect this transition to be seamless, and you should not see any change in your experience as a Solera customer.
“Vista Equity Partners and the Board of Directors remain deeply committed to Solera and our customers, and we are excited about the company’s prospects for continued innovation and development of solutions that create real value for you and your business. We appreciate your trust and commitment to us, and we are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead.”
“(I)t is essential that we continue operating ‘business-as-usual,'” Solera told employees, according to an internal communication provided to Repairer Driven News.
Solera, Nov. 5, 2019
Featured image: The Audatex booth at NACE 2018 is shown. (John Huetter/Repairer Driven News)