John Roberts will replace Kirk Thompson as president and CEO of J.B. Hunt Transport Services at the end of the year in a management shift at the top of one of the country’s largest truckload and intermodal companies.
J.B. Hunt announced late Thursday that Thompson will become chairman of the board at the start of 2011 and give up day-to-day oversight of a company he has guided for 23 years. Over that time he’s taken Hunt from its roots as a basic truckload carrier to a diversified provider of a broad range of domestic transport services.
“With the company’s strategic positioning well established and operational execution at such a high level, this is the right time for me to step back from the day-to-day operations,” Thompson said.
By The Numbers: U.S. IMC Intermodal Yield.
Roberts, 46, has been with the Lowell, Ark.-based company for 21 years, the last 13 years as president of the Dedicated Contract Services unit, a business that has grown from $150 million annual revenue to more than $1 billion.
The expansion of that business, which provides outsourced contract trucking services for shippers and logistics companies, is one marker of the transformation of a company that had a long but unremarkable history in long-haul trucking and then flowered in the period after trucking deregulation.
J.B. Hunt has grown from a $286 million business when Thompson became CEO to a $3.8 billion enterprise today. Only about 15 percent of the company’s revenue comes from for-hire truckload service while more than half comes from intermodal sales that include rail transport.
That diversification led Thompson to declare a few years ago that J.B. Hunt, despite the seemingly ubiquitous tractor-trailers on the country’s highways, was “no longer a trucking company.”
Thompson will replace Wayne Garrison as chairman of the board, and Garrison will remain on the board as a director.
Nick Hobbs, senior vice president of operations at the dedicated contract services unit, will replace Roberts as president of that business.