FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Sept. 5, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AutoNation Inc. CEO Mike Jackson, widely regarded as one of the automotive industry's most influential and effective leaders, will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural INVESTFlorida Equity Conference, organizers announced today.

The conference, to be held Dec. 7, 2012, at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Fla., is a forum for Florida public company CEOs and CFOs to interact with professional investors through formal presentations and one-on-one meetings. The event also provides an opportunity for national business and economic leaders to address key issues of importance to professional money managers, institutional investors, analysts and Florida business leaders.

"We are thrilled and honored to have Mike Jackson share the perspectives and philosophies that have shaped him into one of the most transformative business leaders of today," said Terry McWilliams, conference chairman and president of Mozaic Investor Relations, Inc.

Under Jackson's guidance, AutoNation has become America's largest automotive retailer and the only one in history to have sold more than eight million vehicles. By adopting a more customer-focused, transparent and contemporary business model, Jackson built AutoNation into a Fortune 500 company that sells 400,000 vehicles annually through 260 new vehicle franchises in 15 states, employing 20,000 associates. Revenues in 2011 were approximately $14 billion.

Jackson's achievements have been widely honored. In 2009 Automotive News named him one of the "Fifty Visionary Dealers" of all time and the "Automotive Hall of Fame Industry Leader of the Year" for 2003. South Florida's CEO Magazine named him CEO of the Year in 2006. This year Nova Southeastern University inducted him into H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame. He placed 37th on Fortune Magazine's list of Global Businesspersons of the Year in 2011.

Jackson is actively involved in civic and philanthropic activities, and his insight is widely sought. A frequent guest on CNBC and Bloomberg Television, Jackson also addresses groups and associations about the auto industry and the economy, including modifying U.S. energy policy, boosting research, reducing energy consumption and championing fuel efficient vehicles.

INVESTFlorida attendees will find Jackson's remarks instructive and motivational.

"Attracting a keynote speaker of Mike Jackson's caliber shows how well-regarded INVESTFlorida is," said Justin Stone, a partner with the national public accounting and consulting firm Crowe Horwath LLP. "We're looking forward to hearing his remarks and comments."

Tammy Knight, a partner with the law firm Holland & Knight, said, "Mike Jackson is a strong Florida leader with incredible national influence. His participation signifies the caliber of the INVESTFlorida Equity Conference. As a firm that represents publicly traded companies in Florida and across the nation, Holland & Knight is delighted to support such an important event."

"Mike Jackson's experience and achievements will provide all of us with valuable tools and guidance to help successfully navigate today's business environment," said Craig Grant, Regional President, PNC Financial Services Group. "At PNC we believe that collaboration and knowledge are investments critical to the success of every business and we are proud to be a part of INVESTFlorida's Equity Conference."

INVESTFlorida is overseen by a steering committee that includes investment community professionals, public company executives and business leaders. Crowe Horwath and Holland & Knight are title sponsors, and PNC Financial Services Group is a platinum sponsor. Organizing sponsors include CFA Society chapters in South Florida, Orlando and Naples; Financial Executive International chapters in Florida and National Investor Relations Institute chapters in South and Central Florida.

For more information about the conference and participation, contact Chairman Terry McWilliams at 813.964.7454, terrym@mozaicir.com or contact any of the steering committee members listed below. More information is also available at the INVESTFlorida website: www.invest-fl.com.  For a publication-ready photo of Mr. Jackson, please contact Terry McWilliams.

The INVESTFlorida logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=13597

Terry McWilliams, Chairman, INVESTFlorida
813-964-7454


Justin Stone, Partner, Crowe Horwath LLP
954-202-8572


Tammy Knight, Partner, Holland & Knight LLP
954-468-7939


Craig Grant, Regional President,
PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.
561-803-9709