James Welch, CEO of YRC Worldwide, is taking charge at YRC Freight, replacing President Jeff Rogers, who left the less-than-truckload carrier abruptly Sept. 20.
Also departing is Tom Palmer, senior vice president of finance, who will be replaced by Phil Gaines, a long-time YRC executive who left the company in 2012 to become CFO of KPB Foods. Gaines will be senior vice president for finance at YRC Freight, Welch said in an e-mail sent to YRC Worldwide's 32,000 employees.
Welch and Rogers were not immediately available for comment, and the reasons for Rogers' departure were not disclosed.
Rogers, a former UPS executive, is credited with returning Holland, YRC Worldwide's largest regional subsidiary, to profitability after the company stumbled badly trying to expand after being acquired by YRC Worldwide, then Yellow Roadway, with the rest of USF in 2005. He was named president of Holland in 2008. Welch picked Rogers to overhaul nationwide long-haul LTL carrier YRC Freight when he returned to YRC Worldwide in 2011.
“Jeff’s success in running Holland and a strong relationship with customers, make him a natural fit for this role,” Welch said at the time. Under Rogers, YRC Freight has made significant progress toward profitability, reorganizing its LTL terminal network twice and progressively cutting its losses.
“First and foremost, my goal is to get the company back to making money,” Rogers told The Journal of Commerce in 2011. “And that’s going to revolve around improving service and improving quality.”
YRC Freight had an operating loss of $37.3 million in 2012, compared with $88.5 million in 2011 and $170.3 million in 2010. Revenue last year was almost flat at $3.2 billion, making YRC Freight the third-largest LTL carrier in the U.S., according to data from SJ Consulting Group. The company hit a speed bump in the second quarter though, as its network reorganization coincided with higher volumes. YRC Freight lost $8.5 million in the quarter, compared with $5.1 million in the same period in 2012.
In his statement and e-mail Friday, Welch stressed that he will move the company forward, following plans laid out over his past two years with YRC Worldwide. “Our first priority will be working through the recent optimization of the YRC Freight network," Welch said. “I am eager to work with the team as we continue to build a company focused on safety, customer service and profitability.”