Former Santander exec Josh Baer named AutoFi president

Jessica Thompson

Digital auto retail and finance platform AutoFi tapped Santander Consumer USA head of pricing and strategy Josh Baer as its president.

Baer, whose resume also includes more than a decade at Capital One, will run AutoFi’s lender and enterprise segments. AutoFi on Thurday said he will focus on speeding growth in those businesses with “transformative retail and financing experiences” which will help clients meet consumer preferences.

AutoFi’s software allows consumers to browse dealership inventory and see financing offers tailored to the dealership’s preferences. It handled more than 1 million financing requests to lenders and was associated with more than $3 billion in sales last year.

AutoFi is a pioneer in the digitization of the auto industry,” Baer said in a statement Thursday. “The company is uniquely positioned with manufacturers, retailers, and lenders to deliver digital experiences that will drive the future of the market. The opportunity to shape such a large and complex industry is compelling .”

Baer started at Capital One in 2004 as a program finance lead and left in 2017 as its consumer credit risk analytics head, according to his LinkedIn page. He joined Santander as its head of risk of operations strategy and became its chief risk officer before taking the pricing and strategy leadership role in January 2021, according to the profile. He has an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and a finance degree from James Madison University.

“Bringing finance innovation to the auto ecosystem is a critical part of our strategy and differentiation,” Kevin Singerman, who continues to be AutoFi’s CEO, said in a statement Thursday. “Josh’s experience in credit, lending, automotive and risk management brings deep domain and operating expertise to better serve our dealer, OEM and lender customers with industry-leading products.”

AutoFi noted that it hired Baer after announcing in March it had raised $85 million from investors — a group that included Santander Consumer USA.

“With this additional capital we will double down on our mission to bring joy and trust in this market by enabling banks, captives and specialty finance companies to better support the massive transition of offline to online commerce,” Singerman said in a statement then.

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