22/07/2024 11:59 PM

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O’Regan’s Automotive Group CEO Sean O’Regan has died at age 53

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Sean O’Regan, CEO of Nova Scotia-based O’Regan’s Automotive Group, is being remembered as a community-minded dealer who knew how to connect with people.

O’Regan, 53, died suddenly on March 10, 2022, in Dartmouth, after suffering a heart attack.

“He was one of those people that was beloved in a great number of communities and certainly in the one that we live,” said his brother, Patrick, who is president of O’Regan’s. “He had a tremendous capacity as a friend, as a person and as a leader. He really understood better, than I think anyone I’ve come in contact with, the value in connecting with people and really showing kindness and understanding.”

O’Regan came from a long line of dealers. His grandfather, S.E. O’Regan, operated a number of General Motors and Chrysler dealerships in Nova Scotia through the 1950s. His father Paul, started in the business in 1974 when he opened a small used car lot and gas station. That business would eventually grow into O’Regan’s Automotive Group, which operates 17 new car dealerships in Nova Scotia, including 10 in Halifax, four in nearby Dartmouth and three in nearby Bridgewater, N.S. The group also operates six used-car dealerships in the province, along with a leasing company and a collision centre.

O’Regan got his start in the industry working at the family-owned gas station, pumping gas on weekends.   After graduating from Saint Francis Xavier University with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Business Administration, he joined the sales team at his father’s GM dealership in Halifax in 1992.  He was later promoted to sales manager, and rose through the company’s ranks before being named CEO in 2008.

O’Regan received the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association (CADA) Laureate Award for Business Innovation in 2013 and was named Business Person of the Year by the Halifax Chamber of Commerce in 2015. In 2020, he joined CADA’s executive committee and served as second vice-chair.

Tim Reuss, CADA CEO, developed a long-time friendship with O’Regan.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Sean O’Regan,” Reuss said. “He was a friend of many years and a very influential contributor to the automotive industry, both nationally and in Nova Scotia, serving on CADA’s Executive Committee as Second Vice-Chair, Chair of the CADA Audit Committee, and on the Nova Scotia Automobile Dealers Association Board of Directors.

“His tireless support will be sorely missed.”

O’Regan was also a noted philanthropist in the Halifax area. He supported a number of local non-profits, including Churchill Academy, a local school for children with learning disabilities. Churchill Academy paid tribute to O’Regan on its website.

“Since our founding, Sean was always there, no matter what the need, large or small, and he never sought much in the way of recognition,” it said. “Once we have recovered, the school will find meaningful ways to pay tribute to, and carry forward, his legacy of selfless commitment to serving the needs of students with learning challenges.”

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