Stock buys put spotlight on Swift CEO

Stock buys put spotlight on Swift CEO

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

Phoenix-based Swift Transportation, the nation''s largest publicly owned truckload carrier, said it is tightening up insider trader controls in the wake of recent trades by Chairman and CEO Jerry Moyes. The company said it was placing some of the profits from Moyes'' trades in a trust under control of its directors "for disbursement as they shall determine is appropriate." The company did not elaborate.

The trucking executive''s stock purchases came under scrutiny for their timing when he reported buying 203,000 shares of company stock a few days before a favorable report boosted the carrier''s stock prices 20 percent. That timing saved Moyes an estimated $600,000.

In addition, Moyes reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission June 3 that he had failed to report the purchase of another 7,000 shares of company stock May 19, when the stock was valued at $15.14 per share. Swift shares were trading at $18.29 June 4. Moyes told the SEC the sale had been inadvertently omitted from a previous report.

The savings from the May 19 sale will not be put in escrow, the company said, arguing that the sale proceeded a May 20 decision to extend a stock buyback program. That decision, along with favorable results, boosted stock value.

Moyes owns nearly 19.3 million shares, or 24 percent, of Swift''s outstanding stock. He is the company''s largest shareholder. A trust for his children owns another 9 million shares, or 11 percent. He also has interests in Central Freight Lines, Waco, Texas.

As a result of Moyes'' latest trades, Swift said that future insider trades will be pre-cleared by its chief financial officer or another similar officer.

In an unrelated development, Swift continues to wait for government action on its appeal of a "conditional" - or the middle of three - safety ratings. In the meantime, Swift continues to maintain a "satisfactory" safety rating. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has not indicated when it will decide the Swift appeal.