Jim Hallett was fired as ADESA chief executive officer during a 2005 corporate shakeup. When he returned to buy the company in 2007 and transform it into KAR Auction Services, his first mission was to change the culture and improve morale.
“It’s our responsibility as leaders to create a good environment in the workplace, to create a good culture where people feel that they have an opportunity to enjoy the work and the people they work with and to flourish in their jobs,” said Hallett, chairman and CEO of Carmel-based KAR Global, the recently rebranded name for the automotive marketplace. “One of the simple things I did is I was coming to back to work on Monday morning and Sunday evening, I took down all the reserved parking signs.
“I didn’t even understand the impact of that, but taking down those reserved parking signs sent a whole new message to the company. The message was it’s not about being privileged, it’s about being part of an organization where everybody gets treated in a similar manner.”
The Carmel resident’s success led him to being named a 2019 Laureate inductee in the Central Indiana Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement of Central Indiana. Hallett will be honored at the annual awards gala at 6 p.m. Nov. 21 at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis.
“It came as a complete surprise,” Hallett said
Hallett, whose business has acquired other businesses, was named the 2018 Dynamic Leader of the Year by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce.
ADESA and Insurance Auto Auctions merged to create KAR Auction Services.
“We put those companies together in 2007 and we’ve grown it over the years,” Hallett said. “The companies that we merged, we separated again on the 28th of June.”
In 2018, KAR sold nearly 3.5 million vehicles valued at more than $40 billion through auctions and generated $2.44 billion. More than 50 percent of vehicle transitions facilitated by KAR companies are executed through online channels.
Hallett, a Canada native, is the owner and chairman of the Indy Fuel hockey team.
“I’m passionate about hockey, but also passionate about community,” Hallett said. “We’re involved with a lot of charities. Oftentimes, you can write a check or you can do something that is going to be impactful. I could build ice arenas and give kids more opportunities to play hockey. The Fuel created a platform for me to give back to the community in many different ways.”
Junior Achievement President and CEO Jennifer Burk praised Hallett’s contributions to the community.
“Hallett is a shining example of an individual who is committed to his profession and created an environment and culture that supports all the people who work at KAR and affiliated companies,” she said. “He’s created a real culture of success and has a strong commitment of giving back to the community, supporting important civic causes and supporting people here in central Indiana.”