The chairman and CEO of less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier YRC Worldwide Inc., William D. Zollars, was not included among the top YRC executives who circulated a Feb. 4 internal memo discussing the company's latest financial results, an omission that fuels speculation that Zollars is about to be eased out.
The memo, distributed by YRC's self-styled "senior leadership team," identified six top executives, among them Sheila Taylor, YRC's executive vice president, CFO, and treasurer; Mike Smid, president of YRC Inc. and COO of YRC Worldwide; and Greg Reid, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Zollars' name was not among the group.
In addition, Zollars was absent from a Feb. 4 company press release announcing its fourth-quarter results. Instead, Taylor was the executive quoted in the statement. Until the Feb. 4 announcement, Zollars had provided the commentary that accompanies YRC's quarterly financial communications.
A YRC spokeswoman said "there is no significance" to either development, noting that Zollars has participated in a recent analyst call and a separate video to discuss the company's financial results. YRC is the nation's largest LTL carrier by sales.
Indeed, Zollars was present at a Feb. 7 town hall meeting where top management fielded questions from employees. According to internal notes from the meeting, Zollars said the fourth- quarter results were "in-line with what we expected to see." He also said overall volumes remain "stable" and that traffic at the company's three regional units "continues to grow." The claim was supported by Jeff Rogers, president of Holland, one of the regional units, who said strong volumes combined with a shortage of qualified drivers have forced the unit to turn away business from certain shippers to "avoid putting other business at risk."
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 financial restructuring, which was called for as part of the labor agreement, 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. Zollars, whose contract was up for renewal at the end of 2010, was expected to stay until the restructuring was completed. However, there is no firm deadline for that to happen.