Autobytel Chops CEO, Cuts 25 Percent Of Staff

Irvine-based Autobytel said late Friday that it has cut 25 percent of the firm's employees, and also named a new CEO. Autobytel said that the move affects approximately 40 employees at the company, and will save the company approximately $5.2M annually in costs. The firm said that Jeffrey H. Coats has been named the company's President and CEO, replacing current CEO Jeff Riesenbach. Coats is a partner at Southgate Alternative Investments, and previously served on Autobytel's board of directors. The firm will take a charge of $4.5M in the fourth quarter for the layoffs, including severance for Riesenbach. In explaining the moves, the company's chairman, Michael Fuchs, said that it is continuing to "take immediate steps to bring its costs in line with anticipated revenues." The firm also reiterated its interest in a sale; the firm said it is still pursuing "strategic alternatives" with RBC Capital Markets.