Indiana 250: Jim Hallett

Jim Hallett, the executive chair at KAR Global, joined KAR predecessor ADESA Canada in 1993 as president.

He became CEO of ADESA in 1996 and led the company’s initial public offering in 2004. Then, in 2007, Hallett led the leveraged buyout of ADESA and the merger with salvage auction provider Insurance Auto Auctions Inc. Hallett took the combined company public in 2009 as KAR Auction Services Inc.

Hallett stepped down as CEO in 2021 and the company sold its ADESA division to Carvana last year.

Hallett also owns the Indy Fuel hockey team, which announced last year it will move to Fishers.

Something surprising

I didn’t start out as a “car guy.” I grew up in a small farming village in rural Ontario, Canada. My childhood home didn’t have a garage, and our family never owned a car. We depended heavily on our church and community for transportation and support. I bought my first car when I began working for a dealership after college. From there, I opened my own auto auctions and eventually had the tremendously fortunate opportunity to lead KAR Global. So across my 40-year journey in the automotive industry, I went from not owning a car to selling over 6 million in a single year at KAR.

Admire most

I think having a mentor is one of the most important things you can have in business and in life. I am very fortunate to have a lifelong mentor in Pat Butler, owner of one of the largest automotive and RV groups in Canada.

Pat is 85 years old and a serial entrepreneur. He has guided me throughout my career, and we still speak every week. One of the things he taught me was to surround myself with people who are smarter than [I am]—and listen to them. I think that’s good advice for any leader, and it has certainly helped me succeed and grow over the years.

Advice for a young person

Outwork everyone else. This doesn’t always mean putting in more hours or sacrificing everything else in life for your career. But it does mean always working to improve yourself and to do whatever you can to help your customers succeed.

Favorite civic contribution

I’ve had the great fortune of working with a lot of different organizations that support our community, including the United Way, City Life Wheels and Marian University. But my favorite is definitely “Mable’s Ride,” a program I developed in collaboration with the Community Health Network Foundation that provides health care patients with free transportation. Mabel is my mother’s name, and I wanted the program to reflect her generosity and commitment to supporting others in the community. The program is now in its fifth year of existence and has helped hundreds of patients access the health care services they need the most.•

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