USA Truck replaced its chairman and said it is looking for an experienced operations executive as the troubled truckload carrier struggles with deepening losses.
The company also adopted a stockholder’s rights plan that would help USA Truck fend off a hostile takeover and give two years to implement its turnaround strategy.
The $519.4 million company named Robert A. Peiser chairman, succeeding Terry A. Elliott, who will remain on the board as chairman of its audit committee.
Robert E. Creager, a former PriceWaterhouseCoopers audit practice leader, also joined the USA Truck board of directors as a member of the audit committee.
Peiser, who joined the board in February and was named vice chairman in August, is a former CEO and CFO, with broad experience in aviation and other industries.
“I have a strong belief that we can execute a turnaround strategy,” said Peiser, who helped engineer the post-bankruptcy restructuring at Trans World Airlines.
USA Truck has been working on a strategy to reverse three years of losses. The carrier lost $10.7 million in 2011, $3.3 million in 2010 and $7.2 million in 2009.
Part of USA Truck’s long-term strategy is revamping its management team.
The company said it is looking for an “experience operations executive” and contracted Thomas M. Glaser, former Celadon Group president, as a consultant.
A $6.1 million third quarter net loss added urgency to the company’s mission. The carrier said it struggled with weak freight demand and rising fuel prices.
“The short-term environment was less supportive of rate increases than in recent quarters,” USA Truck President and CEO Cliff Beckham said in a statement.
The third quarter did see increased acquisition activity in trucking, and USA Truck’s stockholder’s rights plan is intended to protect against a hostile takeover.
The company said it is not aware of any pending unsolicited takeover attempt, and that its plan would not prevent a takeover on “fair terms” to its shareholders.