Maynard F. Skarka is returning to YRC Worldwide as chief operations officer of national less-than-truckload carrier YRC Freight. Skarka, the former president of YRC Freight predecessor Yellow Transportation, left YRC in March 2008.
His appointment is the latest management change at a company being reshaped by YRC Worldwide CEO James Welch and YRC Freight President Jeff Rogers. Their goal in hiring Skarka is to strengthen YRC Freight, which is struggling to return to profitability.
YRC Freight is the third-largest U.S. LTL carrier, with about 10 percent of the market. Only FedEx Freight and Con-way Freight are bigger. And YRC Freight holds about 29 percent of the long-haul LTL market, according to SJ Consulting.
The carrier cut its operating loss by nearly half in 2011, from $170.3 million in 2010 to $88.5 million, and had an operating loss of $61.2 million in the first half of 2012, mostly in the first quarter. In the second quarter, YRC Freight lost $5.1 million.
The COO’s job is a new position at YRC Freight. Skarka will manage a 282-service center LTL network that YRC Freight recently reorganized and streamlined to reduce freight handling and speed transit times. YRC Freight is rolling out new technology as well.
“Maynard is a recognized leader in trucking network operations and it is a pleasure to welcome him back to the team,” Rogers said in a statement Friday. Skarka joins YRC Freight Sept. 10 from same-day courier Dynamex, where he was president.
Skarka spent 26 years with Yellow, which he joined in 1982. He became president of the carrier when James Welch resigned, dissatisfied with the direction upper management at YRC Worldwide wanted to take the nation’s largest LTL operator.
Skarka left Yellow in 2008 as YRC Worldwide prepared to merge the carrier with sister company Roadway, a move which led to the creation of YRC Freight. In 2010, he joined Dynamex, a same-day express carrier in Dallas then run by Welch.
He became president of Dynamex, now owned by Canadian trucking giant TransForce, after Welch left to rejoin YRC Worldwide in July 2011.
Skarka isn’t the first YRC veteran Welch has brought back to the $4.9 billion LTL operator. Michelle Russell, YRC Worldwide’s general counsel, spent 12 years with YRC before moving to Spirit Aerosystems. She returned to YRC in January.
The hiring of Skarka fits Welch's strategy of focusing YRC subsidiaries on LTL freight — not international transportation or supply chain management — and devolving authority from the holding company to the operating companies, YRC Freight, Holland, New Penn Motor Express and Reddaway.
Welch eliminated positions such as the chief marketing officer, chief operating officer and chief administrative officer at the holding company level and gave the individual operating companies responsibility for those roles.
"We just want to be squatters on the 10th floor (of YRC's Overland Park, Kan., headquarters) and an insignificant part of that building and really put the energy of the resources toward the operating companies," Welch told analysts at the Deutsche Bank 2012 Transportation and Logistics Conference, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.