Daseke appoints new CFO

Daseke Inc. (NASDAQ: DSKE), the nation’s largest flatbed carrier announced that Jason Bates will fill its vacant chief financial officer position effective April 27.

On Wednesday, truckload (TL) carrier USA Truck Inc. (NASDAQ: USAK) said that Bates is departing to “pursue other opportunities.” Zachary King, the company’s corporate controller, will succeed Bates as CFO.

“We are excited to welcome Jason to Daseke. Jason brings both transformational transportation experience, as well as a strong track record with one of the largest and most sophisticated companies in our industry,” said Daseke CEO Chris Easter. 

“I am excited to be joining the team at Daseke, which is not only a highly respected niche market leader, but a company that is repositioning itself to be a best-in class organization through operational excellence,” said Bates. 

Daseke has been looking for a CFO since September 2019, when Bharat Mahajan stepped down. At the time, the company said that it was going to fill the role on an interim basis with an advisory consultant while it focused on finding a new CEO.

In February, interim CEO Chris Easter, became the permanent replacement for Don Daseke, who stepped down last summer.

Earlier this month, Daseke announced that Chief Accounting Officer Angie Moss will leave at the end of May.

Bates joins Daseke amid a multi-phase restructuring.

After a decade of acquisitions, the company is now focused on streamlining operations and reducing its cost structure. In its fourth quarter 2019 earnings report, the carrier said the restructuring is on track. The company has trimmed tractors, trailers and non-driver headcount by 8% each. Additionally, the number of separately operated flatbed companies was reduced from 16 to 13 with the expectation that operating income would improve by $30 million on an annual run rate by the end of March.

The second phase of the improvement plan is expected to generate an additional $15 million in operating income by the end of 2020. It will see further operational streamlining and roll another three operating units into existing Daseke companies.

“His [Bates] extensive corporate finance experience will be an invaluable asset to both our finance team and to the Daseke executive leadership team” Easter said.

Bates was granted options to purchase nearly 410,00 shares at an exercise price of $1.38 per share as well as 388,500 performance stock units, which are subject to vesting requirements and the company’s share price reaching certain thresholds.

“I intend to bring a data-oriented, process improvement mindset which should complement the great work the Daseke team has already implemented over the last nine months,” Bates said. “Further, I will prioritize continued deleveraging and balance sheet improvement efforts,” Bates concluded.

Bates joined USA Truck in April of 2017. Prior to that he served as the vice president of finance and investor relations at Swift Transportation Company.