Janet Barnard

  • Former Chief People Officer

Cox Automotive

Janet Barnard


Janet Barnard is the former CPO of Cox Automotive, a division of Cox Enterprises, with a strong background in finance, HR, and business operations. As the first female President of the largest wholesale auto auction firm in the world, Barnard is known for her ability to jumpstart billions in revenue and for her decisive mission- and values-driven servant leadership style. With her Midwest work ethic and proven track record of transformation, turnarounds, and organizational scaling, Barnard is a progressive and thoughtful leader who excels at creating inclusive cultures and mentoring future leaders. 

Career History

Barnard has served on multiple boards, including the Georgia State Chamber of Commerce as the Innovation & Technology Committee Chair; Automotive News as the Leading Women Network Advisory Board Co-Founder; Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce as Executive Board Member; George Mason University as a Foundation Board Member; the University of Nebraska as College of Business Advisory Board Member; the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce as Membership Co-Chair; the Northern Virginia Technology Council; and the Virginia Cable & Telecommunications Association. 

In her most recent role as Chief People Officer of Cox Automotive, Barnard laid the groundwork for improved employee experience, loyalty, and turnover for the first time in the company’s 120-yearplus history, leading people functions globally for 30K staff spanning 5 continents. She co-led the design and rollout of Cox’s first-ever human capital management system and recaptured 90% of business lost due to Covid-19 via the redesign and implementation of the company’s operating model to integrate incomplete centralization throughout 5+ years of acquisitions. Barnard also played a key role in cultivating leadership diversity by mentoring a female persons of color successor and expanding executive team female presence to 50%. 

As President of Cox Automotive Inventory Solutions, Barnard transformed the core auction business to seamlessly incorporate expanding digital and mobile strategy with a physical footprint of over 100 operating locations throughout North America. In this role, she turned around slowgrowing, low/no-profit product lines to generate $3.5B in revenue, reengineering Manheim while acquiring a large, diversified software services company. During her tenure, Barnard kickstarted $1B in revenue growth and 60% EBITDA gains by acquiring a logistics start-up that helped convert a long-standing transportation loss into a profitable addition. Barnard also achieved “firsts” for the company, including designing and integrating an operating platform to enable full digital/remote operations for the first time in corporate history as the largest technology initiative anywhere in Cox Enterprises, and establishing the first customer satisfaction metric in the company’s history. 

She rose through the ranks from early career finance and business operations roles at Cox Cable as Accounting Manager (Middle Georgia), Controller (Ocala), and Director of Finance and Director of Business Operations for Cox Cable Gainesville & Ocala, setting the stage for promotion to VP of Business Operations for Cox Communications Omaha. Prior to joining Cox, Barnard began her business career as a General Ledger Accountant for Beatrice Construction. 


Barnard earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and Sarasota, Florida.