Current: Carmel-based KAR Global prepares for leadership transition

Carmel-based KAR Global’s Jim Hallett is convinced this is the perfect time for a transition at the digital marketplace for wholesale used vehicles.

Peter Kelly will replace Hallett as the KAR Global chief executive officer effective April 1. Hallett, who has led the company as CEO since 2009 and became chairman in 2014, will become executive chairman. Kelly, who joined the company in 2011 through the company’s acquisition of OPENLANE, has served as president since 2019.

“Peter and I have worked very closely over the past several years to develop and advance the company’s strategy for the future,” Hallett said. “And last year, we made tremendous progress in the digital transformation of our operations, shifting our sales to 100 percent digital. So as we continue to accelerate into this digital future, it felt like the right time to hand over the CEO responsibilities to the right person, Peter Kelly. Peter has a bold, progressive vision for the future, a deep understanding of technology and strong relationships with our customers and employees alike.”

Hallett, a Carmel resident, said Kelly’s business acumen is only one of his strong traits.

“What I admire and appreciate most about him is his humanity,” Hallett said. “Peter cares deeply for KAR, and his passion for our people and our customers is contagious. He is a selfless leader who understands that no matter how large or technologically advanced we become, the foundation of our success is built on relationships, integrity and trust. I’m confident his leadership of our company and industry will continue to deliver meaningful value to our customers and our stockholders.”

Hallett said his focus is working with Kelly to ensure a seamless transition of management responsibilities while continuing to advance the company’s strategic priorities.

“As executive chairman, I will also serve in an advisory role to the leadership team,” Hallett said. “I’ll focus on a number of different areas, whether it be strategy, customer relationships, mergers and acquisitions — anywhere my experience adds value and helps this company become more successful.”

Kelly said working with Hallett has been a privilege and he has learned a great deal.

“I am very fortunate to begin my tenure as CEO from a position of strength reinforced by Jim’s love for this industry and company, as well as his commitment to safety and innovation,” he said.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Kelly said KAR Global was prepared.

“The company was already well positioned and has invested heavily in digital over the last decade, really,” he said. “It’s probably more of that strong foundation than anything else. We had a pipeline of innovation and technology that we accelerated and were able to deploy very quickly given the starting point of already facilitating about 60 percent of our transactions digitally. So this accelerated that remaining 40 percent, and was truly a team effort all across KAR, from our technology teams, to our field operations, sales, marketing, customer support – everyone played a role in keeping us moving forward.”

Kelly, an Indianapolis resident, said he will continue to focus heavily on KAR’s digital transformation and extending the leadership position in digital used vehicle marketplaces.

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