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President of YRC Freight exits

Updated: 2013-09-21T01:56:44Z

By MARK DAVIS

The Kansas City Star

Jeff Rogers, who for two years has led efforts to improve YRC Worldwide’s national trucking business, has left the company.

YRC chief executive James Welch assumed Rogers’ duties as president of YRC Freight, the largest subsidiary of the Overland Park company.

YRC Freight has made big changes in its effort to recover from a devastating downturn during the recession as the regional trucking companies owned by YRC Worldwide have fared better.

“While the regional companies (Holland, Reddaway and New Penn) continue to provide best-in-class service and more than market-competitive margins, we recognize that we have additional work to do at YRC Freight, and we are committed to taking the necessary steps to move our business forward,” Welch said in the company’s announcement Friday.

Neither Welch nor Rogers could not be reached for further comment.

The announcement said Rogers, who had led Holland before taking charge of YRC Freight in September 2011, was “no longer with the company.” Welch, in the announcement, thanked Rogers for his service.

In an email to YRC employees, Welch also thanked Rogers for his “contributions” and wished him well in “future endeavors.” Neither report said what Rogers plans were or why he was gone.

The email, however, told employees that the company is entering a new phase and “we must be certain we have in place the leadership team that is best equipped to lead the organization.”

Shares of YRC Worldwide fell 85 cents, or 4.5 percent, and closed Friday at $17.99. The company announced Rogers’ departure after the market closed.

Rogers was among the company’s most senior executives.

He and Welch had traveled to Salt Lake City in August to cheer on 31 of the company's drivers set to compete in the 2013 National Truck Driving Championships. Rogers, Welch and chief financial officer Jamie Pierson regularly participated in the company’s quarterly conference calls with stock analysts.

The company’s most recent quarterly financial results disappointed investors, partly because of some disruptions at YRC Freight.

YRC Freight had received union approval of its plans to close unneeded freight terminals and drop low-traffic routes. The moves were designed to make operations more efficient, for example by running fewer empty miles, and are expected to cut costs by $25 million to $30 million a year.

Those changes were made later than originally planned and coincided with a surge in business and a lull in the available scheduled workforce. It meant YRC Freight had to pay overtime and other added costs.

According to the email, YRC Freight is shifting its focus from the network reorganization to attracting more customers and shipments to boost profits.

YRC also has rehired former executive Phil Gaines as its senior vice president of finance. He replaces Tom Palmer, who the email said also had left the company.

Gaines had been with YRC 20 years.

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis@kcstar.com.

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