John Schuetz, a principal in The RSH Group and automotive veteran who worked for Ford Motor Co., Kia, Fiat/Iveco, and Daewoo, passed away on July 25 in Auburn, Calif., from congestive heart failure. He was 69.
Schuetz co-founded The RSH Group in 2001, where he worked for the past 15 years bringing more than 30 years of negotiating, economic development, and marketing expertise to the firm. He was responsible for all sales and marketing at The RSH Group.
Prior to RSH, Schuetz managed corporate relationships with companies such as GE, Home Depot, Lowe’s Toyota, Kia, Hyundai, and Mitsubishi International.
During his automotive career, Schuetz was the corporate general manager of Daewoo Motor America, which was sold to General Motors in 2002. Daewoo’s North American operations were closed following its sale to General Motors. While at Daewoo Motor America, Schuetz established all company policies and procedures, attained a No.4 ranking in the J.D. Power Automotive CSI Survey of 38 manufacturers, and developed a residual strategy that achieved, at that time, the highest residual values of any Korean automotive manufacturer in U.S. history.
Prior to joining Daewoo, Schuetz served as national manager, field operations with Kia Motors America. In that position, Schuetz directed operations strategy and planning for four regions and a 500-plus dealer network. Schuetz created and launched the Kia Dealer Relations Advisory Council. During his employment at Kia, the company achieved the highest industry annual percentage increase in sales and was named the highest potential franchise in J.D. Power’s 5-year forecast study.
From 1985-1991, Schuetz was Western Region vice president for IVECO Truck of North America.
Schuetz started his automotive career at Ford Motor Company serving as the field and operations manager. In that position, Schuetz developed detailed programs to increase sales for 157 dealers in the Western U.S. market. During his career at Ford Motor Co., Schuetz also worked as a personal assistant to Lee Iacocca, who was president of Ford Motor Co.
Schuetz was also a decorated officer in the U.S. Navy and served as a lieutenant, where he commanded a division of the Mobile Riverine Force in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War. He served with distinction in Vietnam from 1969-1971, pioneering many tactics in riverine naval combat and served as a training advisor for several foreign navies. During his command, he also taught at Annapolis and served on several boards with Retired Naval Flag Officers. He was a member of both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Among his other accomplishments, Schuetz was named Orange County (California) Man of Character in 1998 and served on the Executive Board of Directors of the Boy Scouts of America for many years. In 2007, Schuetz was appointed to be a consultant to the White House-sponsored Community Reinvestment Fund Program.
Schuetz received a bachelor’s of arts degree in communications/advertising from Marquette University in 1969 and was a graduate of the Stanford University School of Business Executive Management/Corporate Development Program.
He is survived by his wife Jaci and sons Michael and Sean.