In a major change in its upper-management ranks, Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., said yesterday that Greg C. Gantt, the company's executive vice president and chief operating officer, was named president and COO. David S. Congdon will remain as CEO and will assume a new role as vice chairman of the board. J. Wes Frye, Old Dominion's CFO for the past 30 years, will retire on Dec. 31, and will be succeeded by Adam N. Satterfield, its vice president-treasurer.
Congdon, the third generation of Old Dominion's founding family (his grandparents, Earl Sr. and Lillian, started the company in 1934), steps down as president after 18 years. During that time, Thomasville, N.C.-based Old Dominion rose from a small, regional less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier to one of the nation's top five LTL truckers. In the past five to seven years, Old Dominion has strung together a series of revenue and profitability gains that have become the envy of all of transportation.
Gantt joined Old Dominion in 1994, was promoted to senior vice-president—operations in 2002, and then to his current post in 2011. Frye joined Old Dominion when the company reported less than $100 million in annual revenue and its operating ratio—the ratio of operating revenues and expenses and a key measure of a carrier's ability to operate profitably—was in the high 90s range, a fairly mediocre performance. Today, Old Dominion generates nearly $3 billion in annual revenue, and has an operating ratio of 84.2 percent, meaning that it spends 84.2 cents for every $1 in revenue it generates, a stellar number. Frye led Old Dominion through its initial public offering in 1991.
Benjamin J. Hartford, transport analyst for investment firm Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc., said that Congdon's and Frye's decisions to step down in tandem are a "logical step" that paves the way for the next generation of leaders at Old Dominion to take the reins. Hartford said he doesn't expect any significant change in the company's direction.
The personnel moves come with Old Dominion near the top of its game. In its first quarter, the carrier posted a 12.2-percent increase in year-over-year revenue, and a 36.3-percent gain in net income. Daily tonnage rose 11.4 percent year over year, paced by a 13.5-percent increase in LTL shipments offset by a 1.8-percent drop in weight per shipment, Old Dominion said. Core yields, defined as revenue per hundredweight excluding fuel, rose 6.2 percent year over year, ahead of management's estimate of a 4.5-percent to 5.5-percent increase.