Daseke looks within to complete leadership changes

Rick Williams - Daseke/Central Oregon Truck Co

A couple of quarters into a multi-phased restructuring designed to streamline operations and increase profitability, Daseke Inc (NASDAQ: DSKE), the nation’s largest flatbed carrier, announced the appointment of its new chief operating officer (COO).

In a May 12 press release, Daseke announced that Rick Williams, founder and CEO of previously acquired flatbed carrier Central Oregon Truck Company, Inc. and head of Daseke’s flatbed segment, has assumed the role of executive vice president and COO.  

Photo credit: Daseke/Central Oregon Truck Company

“We are excited to announce Rick Williams’ appointment to the COO role, which effectively completes Daseke’s operational and financial leadership transition that started last August,” said CEO Chris Easter.

In February, Easter, who was serving as interim CEO, became the permanent replacement for Don Daseke, who stepped down last summer. Last month, former USA Truck (NASDAQ: USAK) CFO Jason Bates joined Daseke in the same capacity.

“Rick’s contributions have been instrumental in helping deliver organizational change across our business over the last few quarters. We will look to leverage Rick’s expanded role as COO as we continue our operational transformation and reposition the business for long-term growth and success,” continued Easter.

In addition to managing the fleet, Williams will be tasked with leading the company’s optimization initiatives and efforts to integrate prior acquisitions. The restructuring has included trimming tractors, trailers and headcount. Further, the company is in the process of consolidating separately operated trucking companies that were acquired over the past decade plus. All in, management believes these programs will generate $45 million in incremental operating income.

In its first quarter 2020 report, Daseke announced plans to divest its 2018 acquisition of oil and gas industry transportation provider, Aveda Transportation and Energy Services, in an effort to minimize its exposure to the oil and gas markets. Daseke recorded a $13.4 million non-cash charge associated with the disposal of the company.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to expand my leadership role at Daseke as the company’s COO. The team has made significant strides to reshape our business based on operational excellence over the last three quarters,” said Williams. “Our financial results are showing the impact of the actions we have collectively taken to improve our operations and further strengthen our leadership position in the specialized and flatbed transportation market.”