Longtime President James P. Hallan of Michigan Retailers Association announced that he’ll retire on Aug. 26, capping a 34-year career with what is now the largest state retail association in the nation.
Hallan’s departure is part of a planned succession put in place three years ago, when the MRA Board of Directors chose MRA’s William Hallan to transition into the leadership position. William Hallan currently is Executive Vice President, COO and General Counsel.
James Hallan joined MRA in 1985 as General Counsel. A former assistant county prosecutor, he is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Detroit College of Law. He became President in 1989 and added the CEO title in 2008.
During his tenure, MRA formed Retailers Insurance Co., now licensed to write three lines of insurance. Its credit card processing operation is a $1.4 billion enterprise with accounts in all 50 states.
MRA boasts a robust government affairs department, an educational foundation providing college scholarships to members and two publications, the Michigan Retailer and the Michigan Food News. The latter came under MRA’s purview after Michigan Grocers Association joined MRA in 2018, just over a year after Michigan Retail Hardware Association merged with MRA.
Under Hallan’s leadership, MRA had many important legislative victories, including repeal of Michigan’s item-pricing act and the passage of the Main Street Fairness law.
“One of my favorite sayings is, ‘The only constant is change,’” Hallan said. “Michigan Retailers had to seek change in order to survive in the ever-changing marketplace, We’ve not only survived, but have prospered over the years while adhering to our core mission of providing good value and service to the membership.”
Hallan also serves as president and CEO of Retailers Insurance Company. He is a past chair of the board of Delta Dental of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio; the Renaissance Health Service Corp.; and the National Council of State Retail Associations. He is a past president of the state YMCA and a former member of the board of Fremont Insurance Company. He currently chairs the Delta Dental Foundation.
He takes pride that he leaves the organization debt-free, with a growing membership.
William Hallan will take the reins on Aug. 27. Because MRA has evolved into a complex organization, the Board of Directors wanted to identify a successor who could ensure a seamless transition and lead the multi-faceted organization, said Board Chair Becky Beauchine Kulka.
“The board has chosen wisely,” Beauchine Kulka said. “Bill will be fantastic as our new President and CEO. We were fortunate to lure him here eight years ago and to carry on the traditions established by his father.”
“This will be an easy transition for the employees and membership,” said James Hallan. “It’s been an honor to work with him over the past eight years and see him advance his career and earn the trust of the board of directors. As you would expect, I’m very proud of his accomplishments.”
Hallan is a graduate of Denison University and a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law, where he served as articles editor on the Law Review. He was a litigator with the Dykema Gossett law firm before joining MRA in 2011. He was twice appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the state Organized Retail Crime Commission. He lives in Okemos with his wife, Michelle, and three children, Olivia, Zachary and Theodore.