2021 Auto Finance Innovators Award: Top Six Award-Winners Announced

Following Top 100 auto finance innovators, six award winners were voted the top of their categories by a distinguished judges panel of auto finance executives

New York, NY, January 18, 2022 – The 2021 Auto Finance Innovators Award: Top 100, which recognizes auto finance professionals who have made significant technological contributions to their company and the industry, announced today the six category award winners as chosen by a panel of industry executives, influencers and media leaders. The awards, sponsored by Lightico and Auto Fin Journal, come on the heels of significant innovation in the auto finance industry during the last 18 months.

“It is an honor to be recognized with other fantastic auto finance leaders that have done so much to help innovate within our industry,” said Tanya Sanders, Head of Wells Fargo Auto. “Congratulations to everyone honored for finding ways to innovate in support of dealers and car buyers.”

Award Winners:
• Innovator of the Year (Captive) – Bob Beatty, EVP and Chief Experience Officer at GM Financial
• Innovator of the Year (Subprime) – Andy Clements, Chief Servicing Officer at Global Lending Services
• Innovator of the Year (Service Provider) – Ken Kertz, Vice President, Transportation Segment at FICO
• Digital Transformation Leader of the Year – Tanya Sanders, Head of Auto at Wells Fargo
• Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year – Brian Reed, Founder & CEO at Digital Auto Advisors
• Innovative Initiative of the Year – Stefan Christman, GM Sales Operations at BMW Group Financial Services

The category winners as well as the complete list of the top 100 can be found on the awards website.

“This is a great group of leaders who are doing some wonderful things in auto finance innovation,” said Brian Reed, Founder and CEO at Digital Auto Advisors. I’ve worked with hundreds of executives in the field and without a doubt, the push for technology is the biggest game-changer of our time leading to better business and better customer service.”

“We work with a number of industries to help them digitalize their processes but auto finance is quite unique because of the inherently hungry and competitive nature of the industry. This makes working with auto finance professionals who are looking to innovate that much more exciting and impactful,” said Zviki Ben Ishay, Lightico’s CEO and cofounder. “It takes significant know-how, a desire to learn, a thirst for change and even courage to innovate in turbulent times – and these leaders have shown they have all of that, in spades.”

Judging Panel
• Ian Smith – recently retired CEO of BMW Financial Services USA and Region Americas
• Nick Zulovich – Senior Editor of SubPrime Auto Finance Journal
• Grene Baranco  – VP, eCommerce, Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead
• Don Gottwald – recently retired from KAR as COO, ex-lender (GMAC/Nuvell/Saab, HSBC Auto)
• Rich Zellner – President at Automotive Resource Group, Inc.
• Marguerite Watanabe – Management consultant, President at Connections Insight
• Glenn Munro – President at Lender Compliance Technologies