From left: McLarty, Johnson and Landers
When Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, became the majority partner of RLJ-McLarty-Landers Automotive in October 2007, he said he wanted to double the dealership group's size. He also said he wanted to the recruit and train minority entrepreneurs to manage and buy their own dealerships. Johnson, 65, and his partners, McLarty, 65, a White House chief of staff under President Clinton, and Landers, 58, a longtime Arkansas dealer, have done just that. With three Fiat, one Nissan and two Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram franchises added this year, the company says it has grown to 25 dealerships; it had 10 four years ago. The company also has four minority managers, two of whom own equity stakes in the dealerships in which they work.