New AutoIMS CEO Combines Tech Background with Operational Skills

By Ted Craig March 26, 2019 318

Venkat Krishnamoorthy felt boxed in at his job at Delta Airlines.

It was 2002 and he had been working at Delta Airlines for five years, ever since graduating with a master’s degree in chemical engineering from University of Alabama and a subsequent master’s degree in computer science from Georgia State University. He was being promoted to positions he aspired to, but the job wasn’t very hands on.

Krishnamoorthy estimates he spent 90 percent of his time in meetings during his last year at Delta.

“It was a lot of paper that had to be moved through the slow bureaucratic chain,” Krishnamoorthy said. “I just felt like I was a small fish in a very big pond and having no tangible feedback on how my work affects the bottom line at Delta.”

So he did what anyone in his situation would do – he started sending out resumes to local companies seeking somebody with his background. The first company that responded immediately was AASC, the parent of AutoIMS.

“I had zero idea about the concept of wholesale auto auctions,” Krishnamoorthy said.

Still, the company offered what he sought from a technology standpoint and the direction they were headed. It was small, with fewer than 15 employees at the time.

In the first six months as a Java development leader, Krishnamoorthy said, he delivered what would have taken three years at Delta.

Before taking the job, Krishnamoorthy met with then-CEO Don Meadows, who explained the challenges the firm faced. It was founded just a few years earlier, in 1998, by a group of competitors. This unusual origin, along with the recent dot-com bust, made many people question AASC’s long-term prospects. Krishnamoorthy liked the interview process with Robert Williams (currently the chief software architect at AutoIMS) and liked the team dynamics.

Krishnamoorthy looked past these uncertainties and took the job. Fast forward almost 17 years with the company, AASC celebrated its 20th anniversary and Krishnamoorthy celebrated his appointment as CEO on Jan 1.

“You can now consider it one of the mainstays of the remarketing business,” Krishnamoorthy said. “It’s been quite the success story and I am glad and fortunate to be a part of a great organization.”

“Balancing the needs of the four different owners is very challenging, exciting and there is a lot of opportunity here for AASC.”

AASC’s owners include Manheim, ADESA, ServNet and the IAASC Group. Krishnamoorthy said they have consistently invested in AASC despite being fierce competitors in the open market. 

For its part, Krishnamoorthy said AASC makes sure everything it does, especially AutoIMS, remains neutral “like Switzerland” in the service of its ownership.

“We wake up every day thinking of the best ways to take care of all our partners, both the auctions and the consignors,” he said.

Krishnamoorthy worked first under Meadows and then Mike Broe. Both men had careers in the car business before joining AASC.

Krishnamoorthy, on paper, seems like more of a tech guy, but he considers his strength lies in operations and strategy. He credits that first job with Delta in teaching him the importance of rigorous processes.

Krishnamoorthy moved steadily from Java lead manager to IT director, to chief information officer and then chief operating officer.

“As I went along, something new was added every year to my portfolio, and I kept saying ‘Yes’ to the new challenges,” he said.

After becoming the chief operating officer, Krishnamoorthy and Broe worked together to ensure there was a strong succession plan. When Broe announced his retirement plans in late 2018, Krishnamoorthy expressed his interest in the position of CEO. The AASC Board, after a series of interviews, finally made Krishnamoorthy the permanent CEO as of Jan 1.

“Broe did everything in his capability to make sure I was well groomed for this position,” Krishnamoorthy said. He calls Broe a “good friend, mentor and trusted partner.”

Krishnamoorthy also said, “The success of AASC is the consistent investment by our auction ownership from inception, the rich valued partnerships with existing clients over the years, and most importantly the longevity of our employees. We have a winning team that enjoys being a part of our awesome culture and keeps shaping and evolving it on a continual basis – almost like we are a startup with a day one mentality.”

There are three goals for AutoIMS to reach this year, the new CEO said. One is improving the AutoIMS mobile app.  This should be ready to go in the third quarter. Second is increasing data analytics offerings. AASC had hired a data scientist in late 2017 to reach this goal and it is fully operational.

“For our customer account reviews, we now walk in with charts that are very actionable with the data leading the story,” Krishnamoorthy said.

Third is designing custom dashboards that are personalized to the way users experience AutoIMS. That’s a goal for later in the year. One skill Krishnamoorthy brings to the job is he understands the tech.

The big question he asks is how the technology can help his customers’ business needs.

“Sometimes the reality is that technology can’t solve the problem and instead it’s an operational problem,” Krishnamoorthy said, “and it is very important to make an objective determination on defining the real
problem.”

 

 

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Last modified on Tuesday, 26 March 2019 14:11