The Los Angeles Auto Show has named Terri Toennies to be its new general manager and has made him responsible for increasing attendance and attracting more new-model launches. Toennies is the replacement for Andy Fuzesi, who will leave after over 20 years, effective Jan. 31. Toennies had served most recently as the CEO of the Oncenter, a convention and special-events center located in Syracuse, N.Y. She has had a full career of working at conventions, theater performances and major athletic events. Brendan Flynn, the show's director of communications, said that Toennies has also worked on events and incentive sales programs with many automakers. Toennies will report to the show's board of directors.
Fuzesi, who is also an officer at ANSA Productions, the parent company of the show, will still keep its half-ownership together with Lisa Kaz, the chairman and president of the company. Flynn said that Fuzesi hopes to hire a person who will manage the daily show events with a new skill set and ideas to usher in the show into the future. Flynn said that the show has been growing since it revised its schedule in 2006 from January to November.
He added that Toennies is responsible for managing this growth as well as taking advantage of the distinctive strengths of the show and the L.A. market. California is the biggest market in the U.S. for new light vehicles and alternative-fuel vehicles. In addition, Southern California is considered to be a mecca for automotive design and the largest luxury vehicle market in the U.S. Last year, about 920,000 attended the L.A. show last year, around 22% higher than the 2010 show. About 15% more journalists attended to 4,000 compared with the 2010 show. The attendance of international media rose by 50%.