XPO Logistics Inc. went big in the C-suite late today, and it did so at the expense of Amazon. com Inc.
Greenwich, Conn.-based XPO named Kenneth Wagers chief operating officer in charge of the company's operations in 32 countries. XPO snatched Bowers from Amazon, where the XPO statement said he had "executive oversight" of Amazon's global transportation and logistics business. This included Amazon's operations in China, its "Prime Now" same-day delivery business, and its Amazon Fresh grocery delivery unit. Prior to that, Wagers held high-level supply chain management posts at consumer packaged goods giant Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and at UPS Inc. Bowers spent 17 years at UPS.
At the same time, XPO named Troy Cooper, who had been COO and transportation segment leader, to the newly created post of president. Cooper has spent more than 20 years working with Bradley Jacobs, XPO's founder, chairman and CEO, at various companies. In his new role, Cooper will work directly with Jacobs to lead strategy for XPO. It is believed that the creation of the president's role, and Cooper's elevation to it, is part of Jacobs' strategy to prepare the groundwork for future acquisitions. At least one, or perhaps two, large-scale acquisitions are expected in 2018.
Jacobs built XPO into a $15 billion multicontinent powerhouse in large part through 17 acquisitions and subsequent integrations over more than 3 years, a strategy whose scope was unprecedented in the transportation and logistics fields. It has been off the acquisition trail since September 2015, when it acquired trucking and logistics company Con-way Inc. for $3 billion in the largest transaction, at the time, in the history of U.S. trucking.
Seattle-based Amazon has aggressively expanded its shipping operations largely to support the shipping demand triggered by explosive growth of its online retail and fulfillment. It has a cadre of seasoned transport and logistics professionals hired from other companies. It is unclear whether the loss of Wagers will be setback or just a short-term blip.