February 11, 2011

Does silence speak volumes?

Zollars' absence from latest YRC communiqué fuels speculation of imminent departure.

By Mark B. Solomon

Is YRC Worldwide preparing its stakeholders for the imminent departure of its chairman and CEO, William D. Zollars?

Zollars was conspicuous by his absence from a Feb. 4 company press release announcing its fourth-quarter results. Instead, Sheila Taylor, YRC's executive vice president, CFO, and treasurer, was the executive quoted in the statement. Until now, Zollars had provided the commentary that accompanies YRC's quarterly financial communications.

A YRC spokeswoman did not return a request for comment by press time. Ken Paff, national organizer for the Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), a Teamster dissident group, said unionized YRC employees also interpreted Zollars' absence from the announcement as a sign that the company is ready to move him out.

Last September, YRC and the leadership of the Teamsters union, which represents about 25,000 YRC workers, struck a deal calling for union members to make additional wage and benefit concessions. In return, Zollars, who has run YRC since 1999, would retire once the company's restructuring was completed and a new CEO was named. The rank and file ratified the agreement in late October.

Labor sources said Zollars' departure was a pre-condition to the union's accepting any contract proposals. The company eventually announced that Zollars would retire and that it was looking both within and outside the company for a successor.

More articles by Mark B. Solomon

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