CARMEL, Ind., Nov. 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Jim Hallett, CEO and Director of KAR Auction Services, a used vehicle auction services company for North American sellers and buyers worldwide, has been named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 National Services Award winner.
The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award, a leading business award for entrepreneurs, encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.
Hallett was recognized for transforming a traditional auction company that uses technology into a technology company that runs auctions, while nearly tripling its market cap. Today, the company provides everything wholesale-used car sellers and buyers might need, from salvage and used-car auctions to support services. He was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards gala, the culminating event of the EY Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Springs, California. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in 10 additional categories.
The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges and from more than 250 regional award recipients.
"KAR Auction Services flourished pre-IPO as ADESA under Jim Hallett's leadership, so it should be no surprise that it thrived even more, growing in profit and size, when he returned to the new company," said Mike Kacsmar, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Americas Program Director. "His tenacity, entrepreneurial spirit and compassion toward those he works with has propelled Jim to incredible success and truly differentiates him from others."
Entrepreneurial mindset spurred unmatched growth
Hallett's entrepreneurial approach – an approach he's taken in all of his business endeavors – turned KAR into one of the best-performing investments in private equity partners' portfolios, even during the economic downturn. Upon taking the reigns as CEO in 2007, he developed and implemented a well-orchestrated plan focused on organic growth, fee increases, expense cuts, technology enhancements, volume growth and people. His leadership was undeniably successful: since the company's December 2009 IPO, its market capitalization has more than doubled..
In order to remain competitive, KAR Auction Services needed to have an online presence. Hallett decided the company would purchase OPENLANE, an online auto auction, which allowed it to take advantage of an increasing internet customer base and build sales volume. That acquisition transformed the business. It was no longer an auction company that uses technology, but a technology company that runs auctions.
Unwavering passion for the business
Hallett's rise to the top of the company he loved was filled with setbacks that would have forced most others to find a different path. But not Hallett. He began his career as a car dealer and he moved onto owning his own auto auction. The relationships he'd made along the way help ensured his auction's success, and soon after, he was approached to become CEO of ADESA Canada, the Canadian arm of the third most successful auto auction in the US. In a few years, Hallett moved into the role of CEO of ADESA in the US. But he then was let go from the position as the company prepared for an IPO. This didn't stop Hallett from following the company he had spent many years improving – in fact, the opposite took place. Hallett carefully watched the company's performance after going public, and he seized an opportunity when he noticed its performance going downhill. He approached investors including ValueAct Capital and Kelso & Company, and in 2007, Hallett once again became CEO of the company he had left, now called KAR Auto Auctions.
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 National Services finalists:
In addition to Hallett, the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Services finalists in the US were:
Susan Hertzberg, President and CEO of Boston Heart Diagnostics Corporation, based in Framingham, Mass.; Lynn Massingale, MD, Executive Chairman of TeamHealth, based in Knoxville, Tenn.; and Scott Painter, founder and CEO of TrueCar, Inc., based in Santa Monica, Calif.
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014 National Overall Award winner
Dr. David Hung of Medivation was named the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 National Overall Award winner.
Video and photos
To view photos of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year winners, please visit ey.com/us/eoy.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored in the United States by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries. ey.com/eoy
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