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Robert Potamkin, dealer legend and philanthropist, passes away

Robert Potamkin leaves behind his wife of 43 years, Lexie, alongside his brother, Alan Potamkin, five children, and two grandchildren

Robert Potamkin, retail automotive legend and co-chair of the Potamkin Automotive Group, passed away on November 30 at the age of 77.

He leaves behind his wife of 43 years, Lexie, alongside his brother and fellow co-chair Alan Potamkin, five children, and two grandchildren. According to family members, Potamkin’s death was the result of complications arising from a surgery during which stem cells were injected into his shoulder.

Potamkin and his brother headed the Potamkin Automotive Group, founded in 1946 by their father, Victor, after joining the retail automotive business in the ’70s. The two grew the dealership network, then operating just five rooftops, to one of the largest private-owned groups in the nation. Over its nearly eighty-year history, the company has owned as many as 100 stores across some of the most active car markets in the U.S., including Florida, New York, Texas, California, and Pennsylvania. Currently, the dealership group operates 18 locations, 14 of which generated more than $1.3 billion in revenue in 2022.

Speaking to Automotive News, Alan Potamkin attributed much of the dealership group’s success to his brother’s leadership and business acumen. “We were able to start more of a chain organization than a hands-on-running-it-yourself organization,” he commented. “Rob and I only had dealerships where we would have an operating partner, and I believe we were the first to really go large with that concept, which many dealers have done since that time…That was very much Robert’s concept.”

While he was renowned as a retail automotive leader and visionary, Potamkin left his most indelible mark through his charitable work and philanthropic efforts. Along with his wife, he created the Potamkin Prize for Pick’s and Alzheimer’s Disease Research in collaboration with the American Academy of Neurology, which awards $100,000 to individuals in the medical field. The Potamkin family has also funded educational initiatives benefitting students in multiple states, founding a primary school in Florida and establishing grants for minority students attending the University of Pennsylvania and New York University.

According to an obituary posted by The New York Times, the Potamkin family is grieving privately, with no plans for a public memorial, but continue to cherish their loved one’s life and honor his memory.

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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