CANTON, GA - Darryll Ceccoli, retired chief operating officer and past president and CEO of Manheim, passed away Sunday, Dec. 5 of natural causes. He was 63.

"We were shocked and saddened to learn of Darryll's passing. His career with Manheim spanned three decades, and he was instrumental in shepherding Manheim through many years of significant growth. Darryll was known for his enthusiasm for the business and his deep commitment to the company and its employees," said Dean Eisner, president and cheif executive officer for Manheim. "He was also well known for developing talent among Manheim's employees and inspiring their loyalty. We will all miss him."

Ceccolli served in a variety of senior management roles at Manheim, including chief operating officer and president and chief executive officer. His career with Manheim spanned three decades and many regions of the country with a tremendous impact on the wholesale automobile auction industry. When he joined Manheim in May 1975 as assistant general manager of National Auto Dealers Exchange in Bordentown, N.J., the company had 12 auctions in the eastern part of the United States, 2,500 employees and handled about 360,000 vehicles a year.  When he retired from Manheim in 2002, the company had 83 auctions throughout the United States, two auctions in Canada, 32,000 employees, operations in the United Kingdom, France, Australia and New Zealand, and handled 10,000,000 vehicles annually. 

He was instrumental in guiding Manheim through many years of significant growth which included the merger with GE Capital Auto Auctions.

"I was saddened to learn about Darryll's untimely passing. He was a driving force at Manheim and a tremendous influence in the auction industry," said Mike Broe, executive VP of operations for Manheim. "At Manheim, he served in a variety of senior management roles, including chief operating officer and president and chief executive officer. He also made a big impact in the industry, including helping to create the AutoIMS inventory management system, which marked the first time that auction companies worked together to create something for the remarketing industry. He was also instrumental in developing and supporting AuctionNet which serves as a key revenue stream for the National Auto Auction Association. We wish his family all the best in their time of loss."

Ceccoli worked closely with the family of Michael P. Fisher to conceive of the idea of naming and endowing the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center. His vision and unique ability to lead, rally and inspire people led to Manheim raising more than $5 million to support cardiac research and care for children. In lieu of flowers, his family asked that donations be made to the center: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Michael P. Fisher Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, 1687 Tullie Circle NE, Atlanta, GA  30329.

Often on visits to auction sites, Ceccoli got his hands dirty washing cars while not letting the local crew members know he was a corporate big-wig, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The title on his business card simply read: "employee."

In his 27-year career with Manheim, a division of Cox Enterprises, which also owns AJC, Ceccoli helped the auction company soar from 360,000 vehicles handled per year to 10 million by 2002, when he retired as chief operating officer.

Over the past several years, the Ceccolis bought historic buildings in Waverly and Dalton, Pa., towns he grew up in as a child, and restored them. He helped a niece start a deli, and a nephew and his wife start a general store. Ceccoli also helped a friend start a pizza parlor, according to the AJC.

Mrs. Ceccoli met Mr. Ceccoli when she was hired at Manheim in 1996. Their relationship blossomed after he helped her build a patio at her home. They married in 2004.

Demaris Farrell, Mr. Ceccoli's sister, said her brother read at a 10th grade level in the fifth grade. The son of a master mechanic and welder, he was gifted with cars and other machines.

His skills led him to the auto auction industry after college in Pennsylvania. Ceccoli helped steer Manheim through a major merger and enormous growth.

In addition to his wife and sister, Ceccoli is survived by his mother, Helen Ceccoli; a brother, Joseph Ceccoli; and three nephews and three nieces.