The announcement of the sudden departure of C.H. Robinson’s CEO started 2023 with a tremor. But the shifting of executive chairs in trucking continued all week, with Fleet Advantage, PGT Trucking, Bay & Bay Transportation, and PrePass Safety Alliance all announcing moves, women and younger leaders moving further up the corporate ladder in the industry, and an equipment leasing pioneer retiring from his longtime career home.
Brian Holland named CEO at Fleet Advantage
Truck and equipment financer Fleet Advantage, which also offers fleet maintenance services, fuel analytics, and life cycle cost management, announced Jan. 4 the retirement of pioneering CEO John Flynn and the naming of Brian Holland as the company’s next chief executive.
Flynn, a 40-year veteran of trucking and transportation, retired effective Dec. 31, and Holland, Fleet Advantage’s president and CFO, was elevated as part of a long-standing succession plan, which began in early 2021 with the formation of a six-member senior leadership team, according to a release from Fleet Advantage.
See also: Mogul Energy absorbs refrigerated fleets
In the 1980s, Flynn founded his first startup, which was to design and implement a nationwide lease program using structured tax-leveraged lease financing for over-the-road trucks and trailers.
Later, according to the release, Flynn pioneered the use of like-kind exchange (Section 1031 exchange), a tax provision that enhanced lease economics. Since 1980, such leases have expanded exponentially and now represent the largest segment of net finance leasing for new semi-trucks in the U.S.
During the early period of his career, Flynn decided to focus on private corporate truck fleets. He developed mathematical formulas to confirm that shorter lease terms resulted in a lower total cost of ownership and structured off-balance sheet operating leases. He organized Fleet Advantage in 2008 and added environmental stewardship to the company’s services.
No other finance industry executive has had as much of an impact on the acquisition, use, and disposal of Class 8 tractors for private carriers, the Fleet Advantage release boasts of Flynn. “We set out to build a company that would offer the flexibility but not the risk of ownership and combined the attributes of hard work and dedication and a commitment to excellence in customer service, using an innovative approach supported by data analytics to effect change within the transportation sector,” he said in the release.
Guzman becomes new CFO at PGT Trucking
PGT Trucking, the No. 108-ranked freight hauler on the FleetOwner 500 Top For-Hire Fleets of 2022, announced executive appointments to “lay groundwork for 2023 success.” Aliquippa, Pennsylvania-based PGT, which offers flatbed, dedicated, international and specialized services, named Luis Guzman as its chief financial officer and Andrew Erin as VP of technology advancement.
Guzman joined PGT in 2004, serving most recently as VP of finance. As CFO, Guzman will oversee PGT’s financial management, maximize the company’s earnings, and identify strategic growth opportunities, according to the PGT release.
See also: Navarro and PGT Trucking to work as integrated fleet partners
“I am honored to transition into this new leadership role,” Guzman said. “I will remain focused on maintaining PGT’s strong financial position, and with my expanded responsibilities, look forward to reaching new levels of success and growth.”
Guzman holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration-finance from Robert Morris University and earned his MBA in 2009. He also was a member of RMU’s NCAA Division I men’s basketball team.
Erin began working at PGT in 2013 and has held several positions in the operations, safety, and risk departments. Erin is chairman of the company’s innovation committee, and in his new role, he will be tasked with promoting PGT’s “Future of Flatbed” initiatives by adding quality talent to the applied technology department, overseeing the implementation of new software in company systems and leading PGT’s innovative approach to transportation solutions.
“PGT is actively preparing for the future by leading the way to progressive freight solutions, and I am excited to be a part of this evolution in my new role,” said Erin, who earned a bachelor’s degree in history-secondary education from American University in Washington, D.C., and he was part of the American Trucking Associations’ LEAD program in 2020.
Gonnerman named president at Bay & Bay Transportation
Lisa Gonnerman, on Jan. 5, became the first female president in the 82-year history of Eagan, Minnesota-based Bay & Bay Transportation, which is ranked No. 215 on the for-hire FleetOwner 500.
“Lisa’s three decades of industry experience combined with her relentless focus on fleet safety, people development, and customer satisfaction make her the perfect leader to oversee trucking for Bay & Bay,” said Sam Anderson, Bay & Bay’s CEO. “Trucking is the lifeblood of our business. We are excited to have a leader of Lisa’s caliber in this critical role.”
See also: Women in Transportation 2022: Trailblazers in trucking
After graduating from Iowa State University with a degree in transportation and logistics, Gonnerman began her career at Schneider National Carriers, where she worked in operations for 18 years. In this role, she helped manage various capacity types as well as over-the-road, local, dedicated, and rail operations. By the end of her tenure, Gonnerman was director of operations.
Gonnerman joined Ruan Transportation as VP of safety in 2010 and spent more than seven years leading safety, compliance, training, and claims management there. She then served as VP of safety for Transport America (TA). When TA merged with Contract Freighters Inc., Gonnerman led the integration of the two safety departments, in addition to several acquisitions of companies.
Gonnerman is a past National Safety Director of the Year and National Chair for the Safety Management Council for the American Trucking Associations and serves as vice chair of the Minnesota Trucking Association Safety Council.
“I’m excited to join one of the premier trucking organizations in the industry,” Gonnerman said. “Bay & Bay has a long history of being a trusted provider of transportation and logistics services.”
In October, Bay & Bay completed its transformation from a tank to refrigerated fleet by selling its remaining tank-truck business to McCoy Group’s Foodliner. The deal included 38 trucks and about 90 pneumatic and hopper-bottom trailers. Bay & Bay also recently acquired a facility in northern Indiana.
Bay & Bay’s multimodal logistics business offers less-than-truckload, full truckload, and intermodal services and is an intermodal marketing company with direct contracts with more than 60 regional and national LTL companies and six major railroads.
PrePass Safety Alliance taps Murray as new president
Phoenix-based PrePass Safety Alliance, the tolling bypass and toll-payment and management services provider, on Jan. 5 said that Chris Murray had been named its president.
Murray served as president and CEO of Kapsch TrafficCom North America. Kapsch expanded its offerings to include end-to-end connected mobility systems, software, and services to the intelligent transportation technology marketplaces, such as electronic toll collection, urban and highway traffic management, commercial vehicle systems, and connected vehicle (V2X) solutions.
“Chris’ broad range of experience in connected truck technology will allow PrePass to enhance our best-in-class bypass and tolling services and aggressively expand into new markets and opportunities on day one,” Mark Doughty, president and CEO of PrePass, said via a release from PrePass.
Murray joined Kapsch as part of the acquisition of Mark IV, a designer and manufacturer of RFID systems and components used to enable electronic toll collection systems, commercial vehicle operations, and traffic-management systems, where Murray was president. Prior to Mark IV, Murray held several executive positions at CHEP, a $4 billion-plus global logistics services company. Murray got his start in the transportation industry with Ryder Logistics and Bridgestone Corp.
See also: Truck driver to officer: ‘Why did you stop me?’
“I look forward to guiding this great organization through its next chapter, fully realizing our place at the forefront of smart transportation systems that make trucks, enforcement, and infrastructure safer and more efficient,” Murray said.
PrePass Safety Alliance acquired the technology firm that Murray will lead in June. Since its inception 30 years ago, the connected vehicle organization acted as the primary vendor for PrePass and has been held by a succession of commercial giants, including Lockheed Martin, Xerox, and Conduent. In 2018, it was spun off as a stand-alone company named CVO, which has been rebranded as PrePass.
In North America, qualified carriers rely on PrePass to bypass weigh stations in 41 states and provinces. PrePass serves more than 110,000 carriers and over 750,000 trucks, according to the release.
In July, PrePass announced its acquisition of CVO Holding Co., which specializes in combining technologies and infrastructure to enable connected vehicle solutions.
C.H. Robinson shakeup resonates
The sudden Dec. 31 departure of CEO Bob Biesterfeld from third-party logistics, freight brokerage, and multimodal transportation services juggernaut C.H. Robinson reverberated all week and changed the company’s standing in the financial markets.
Biesterfeld will be succeeded on an interim basis by Scott Anderson, who was chairman of the company’s board of directors. Biesterfeld, who was CEO for three years but had been with C.H. Robinson overall for 24 years, also gave up his title as president and his seat on the company board. In a Jan. 3 release announcing the shakeup, the company praised Biesterfeld and lauded his leadership and accomplishments but later, in a securities filing, disclosed that he’d departed as part of an involuntary termination without cause. He will be entitled to severance benefits under an executive separation and change-in-control plan.
C.H. Robinson had its stock price targets revised or downgraded on news of Biesterfeld’s end-of-2022 departure, by Credit Suisse, Cowen, UBS, and Bank of America Securities, among others, during the week.
The company, with annual revenues of $23.1 billion, has struggled over the past year to come to grips with supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as surging inflation. As a result, C.H. Robinson has underperformed financially in recent quarters on lower net income, reduced profit margins, and missed revenue goals. In November, the company announced about 650 layoffs and said it was seeking a $150 million annual cost-saving plan as declining demand hit the transportation industry.