Before the end of this week - June 1st, actually - APRO will welcome a new CEO: Charles Smitherman, JD, PhD.
Smitherman comes from APRO member PTS Financial Services, where he has served as General Counsel - in addition to Chief Operating Officer, then Vice President - for the past 8.5 years. He will be the association's sixth leader in its 43-year history.
"I'm truly honored to be selected to help lead this industry as the new CEO for APRO," Smitherman said. "I understand the essential role APRO plays in protecting and promoting the rent-to-own industry. I believe my background and experience will bring the association valuable insight and skills to support and advance not only its position as the voice of RTO, but also its duty to provide unique value to our membership."
Previous APRO CEO Jill McClure resigned at the beginning of this year following 5.5 years of successful leadership with APRO. A nationwide search - facilitated by an executive search firm - eventually led a special committee to identify Smitherman as the right person for this critical position.
"Charged by the APRO Board of Directors, I formed an Executive Search Committee with four other rent-to-own leaders to join me in recruiting and hiring APRO's next staff leader," said APRO President Michael Bennett, CEO of Buddy's Newco LLC, dba Buddy's Home Furnishings. "I want to extend my greatest thanks to Larry Carrico, CEO of SKC Enterprises Inc. dba Rent One; Mark Connelly, Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions for Arona Corporation dba Arona Home Essentials; Christine Hesse, head of Government Relations for Progressive Holdings Inc.; and Shirin Kanji, President of Impact RTO Holdings dba Rent-A-Center - the time, energy, and thoughtfulness they spent during this process was absolutely invaluable.