KAR Announces New COO

CARMEL, Ind. - 

Making a trio of senior leadership announcements, KAR Auction Services said Thursday afternoon that it has created a chief operating officer position that will be filled by Don Gottwald, who has been chief executive officer of KAR subsidiary Automotive Finance Corp. since 2009. 

John Hammer, who has been president and COO of AFC since 2013, will be promoted to serve as CEO and president of AFC. Meanwhile, the company said in the press release that KAR CEO Jim Hallett will broaden his focus on growth, innovation and creating shareholder value.

“Technology has become a differentiator for KAR, and I will continue to focus on our leadership position and how the use of technology will serve our customers,” said Hallett. “Innovation through technology is an important element of our growth strategy and a key contributor to creating shareholder value.”

The aforementioned changes will be effective Monday.

Regarding Gottwald’s promotion to KAR COO, Hallett said: “Don was an obvious choice for this new role. During his tenure at AFC, he has exhibited superb leadership skills, delivered unprecedented growth to the business during one of the most difficult credit downturns our economy has ever experienced, and successfully driven innovation through numerous initiatives.”

Gottwald’s responsibilities in the new post include all KAR business units and related subsidiaries, including ADESA, Insurance Auto Auctions and AFC. Gottwald will oversee all support functions and will direct the strategic and operational leadership of these businesses as well as long-term alignment and integration enterprise wide, the company said in the statement.

“I look forward to working closely with our teams throughout KAR to maximize value and advance a deeper ‘one company’ application across all business units,” said Gottwald. “It is essential that we set the foundation to meet the diverse needs of both our customers and our markets.”

Hammer joined the company in 2009 as COO of AFC, then was promoted to AFC president and COO in 2013.

“During his nearly five years with AFC, John has proven to be a strong leader who is deeply invested in both employees and the company,” said Gottwald. “I am confident in his ability to drive AFC’s continued success.”


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