XPO Logistics Inc. has engaged the prominent placement firm of Spencer Stuart to recruit two executives to run Con-way Freight, the less-than-truckload (LTL) unit of Con-way Inc., when XPO's $3 billion acquisition of the parent company closes, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Greenwich, Conn.-based XPO is looking for a CEO for the $3.6-billion unit, the largest in the $5.8-billion Con-way organization, as well as an executive to function as a chief operating officer, according to these people. The recruiting firm has been showing XPO "some great talent," one of these people said.
It is expected that Joseph M. Dagnese, who currently runs the LTL unit, will step down soon after the deal closes, by the end of October. Dagnese took the job in mid-June after running Con-way Truckload, the company's truckload operation.
Bradley S. Jacobs, XPO's chairman and CEO, confirmed Thursday that XPO has received three unsolicited offers for Con-way Truckload. Con-way had bought Contract Freighters Inc. (CFI) for $750 million in 2007, and rebranded it as Con-way Truckload. The deal has been widely considered a disaster, mostly because Con-way vastly overpaid for CFI. It is believed the unit would today fetch no more than $400 million.
Since announcing the proposed Con-way purchase in early September, XPO touted Con-way Truckload's assets as a valuable source of capacity for brokered freight. However, it is unclear as to what strategic fit the unit would bring to a company whose business revolves around last-mile deliveries, LTL, freight brokerage, intermodal, and contract logistics.
Jacobs confirmed earlier reports that XPO will create a two-tier delivery network for LTL services: One being a premium "priority" service, and the other a slower "economy" service that will deliver goods in a three- to four-day delivery window. The priority service, which Con-way Freight specializes in, represents about one-third of the total U.S. LTL market, Jacobs said. XPO will consider leveraging the intermodal network of Pacer International, an intermodal marketing firm XPO bought in 2014, to move the slower traffic, Jacobs said. That service is likely to launch within a few months of the deal's closing, he added.
XPO is also looking to connect the road networks of Con-way in the U.S. and another recent acquisition, French firm Norbert Dentressangle S.A. to create an intercontinental delivery network bridged by an ocean less-than-containerload (LCL) service, Jacobs said. XPO bought Dentressangle in April for $3.5 billion. The executive spoke at the JOC 2015 Inland Distribution Conference in Memphis.
Assuming the Con-way transaction closes within the next 30 days, XPO will have $15 billion in revenue by year's end, largely through a series of acquisitions. Five years ago, XPO didn't exist. In 2011, Jacobs invested $150 million in a company called Express One, rebranded it as XPO Logistics Inc. and took control of the business. Though his model originally focused on building massive scale in brokerage through acquisitions and organic growth, Jacobs has diversified XPO across a much broader range of capabilities in an effort to cross-sell a soup-to-nuts portfolio.
Jacobs, who presided over an informal "town-hall" format in Memphis, said—perhaps tongue in cheek—that XPO "doesn't need any more customers." With about 50,000 customers, XPO's objective is to deepen those existing relationships, he added.
He said XPO would throttle back on acquisitions for at least a year as it focuses on integrating Con-way, which is expected to be his most ambitious and challenging effort yet. But the pace of acquisitions is likely to pick up well within the next five years, he added.
One area Jacobs said he will avoid is parcel. Noting firms like FedEx Corp., UPS Inc., DHL Express, and the U.S. Postal Service have spent many years and billions of dollars to build formidable competitive moats in the B2B and B2C categories, Jacobs acknowledged that "we're about three decades late here."