Mr Kehoe comes to Gumtree as the service passes seven million visitors a month and during a time when digital sales platforms are booming because of the isolation requirements of COVID-19 and a retraction of physical shopping outlets.
The new managing director said the pandemic had seen a steady growth of e-commerce penetration to 16 per cent of the physical retailing business.
However, in April and after the global onset of COVID-19 and the introduction of personal distancing rules, that penetration hit 27 per cent.
Mr Kehoe sees this as being a major reason for all businesses to embrace digital marketing and particularly for people buying and selling automobiles and auto parts.
“We are seeing people spending more time online, and those who were never online or rarely used the service have no choice but to go online in order to purchase goods,” he said.
“The seller is seeing the same trend. So it’s becoming increasingly important for dealers.”
He said that Gumtree was “a great business” and occupied the “sweet spot” of retailing in Australia.
Mr Kehoe was previously a director of private investment group Sastrugi that had clients including Virgin Australia, US-Canadian automotive start-up BlackPurl, and Australian auto parts and accessories business Sparesbox that is now part of Repco.
He was also a founding member of GraysOnline and was with the company for almost 17 years in the role of executive director until 2015. GraysOnline was a competitor to Gumtree and eBay in the auction industry.
Mr Kehoe subsequently served as head of digital for Virgin Australia and chief operating officer and executive director for New York-based artificial intelligence firm Flamingo.
He is a passionate supporter of the environment and remains a non-executive director of 20 Beaches Foundation that aims to preserve and protect coastline from Manly to Palm Beach in Sydney.
The new entity that comprises the individual brands of CarsGuide and Autotrader is known as Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions (CAMS). It is headed by CEO Shaun Cornelius.
By Neil Dowling