Donald E. Moffitt, president and chief executive of Consolidated Freightways widely credited with turning around the fortunes of the company, is expected to be tapped as the new chairman of the $5 billion company.
The announcement, expected to- day, follows a Saturday meeting of the board of directors. Raymond F. O'Brien, chairman for the last 17 years and a board member for 28 years, has reached the mandatory retirement age of 72, and his departure was on the board's agen- da.Mr. Moffitt, 62, joined the company as an accountant in his native Indiana in 1955. He followed a series of promotions to the company's headquarters in 1962. He became vice president of finance in 1962, president of CF International & Air Inc. in 1983 and vice chairman of the company's board in 1986.
Mr. Moffitt left Consolidated Freightways in 1988, when it became apparent that Lary Scott would get the coveted chief executive spot. But troubles with Emery Worldwide, purchased in 1989, led to Mr. Scott's departure and Mr. Moffitt's return in 1990. He first filled the company's top financial post, then became president and chief executive in April 1991.
Mr. Moffitt is widely credited by analysts with righting the company, which lost $191.6 million from 1990 to 1992.
In 1994, the company had its second-best operating profit ever, despite a three-week Teamsters strike in April. This year, it posted by far the best results in the first quarter by any of the national less-than-truckload carriers. All the different operating sectors, CF Motor Freight, Con-Way Transportation Services and Emery reported simultaneous earnings increases for the first time in five years.
"He's my hero. He's done the right job at the right place at the right time," said Douglas Rockel, an analyst for Furman Selz. "He didn't let his ego get in his way, after getting passed over the first time. That's a pretty good testament of his character, and his results speak for themselves."
Mr. O'Brien joined the company in 1958, became president of CF Motor Freight, its largest subsidiary, in 1973, and president of the whole company in 1975. He added the title of chief executive in 1977. He retired in 1988 at age of 65, but kept the title of chairman.