Saia’s CFO leaves for top executive job at Americold

In a somewhat surprising move, Saia Inc. (NASDAQ:SAIA) CFO Robert Chambers has left the less-than-truckload (LTL) carrier after eight months to return to his former employer, refrigerated warehousing and storage firm Americold Realty Trust (NYSE:COLD), as executive vice president and chief commercial officer.

Chambers has been succeeded by Douglas Col, who was promoted to Saia’s CFO after six years at the company. Col will also maintain his vice president’s title, Saia said late Tuesday.

Chambers will not have to travel far for his new role. Saia and Americold are headquartered in Atlanta’s northern suburbs.

In a note Wednesday, Amit Mehrotra, transport analyst at Deutsche Bank, said Chambers’ departure was unexpected but should have no negative impact on Saia given Col’s experience. Of more near-term concern to Mehrotra are the disappointing fourth-quarter results that Saia will likely report next month, as the more than yearlong downturn in the U.S. industrial economy continues to take its toll on shipper demand and LTL revenue. Industrial traffic is the LTL industry’s bread and butter.

Saia shares were down more than 3% as of 1 PM EST Wednesday. Americold’s shares were off fractionally. Americold is the world’s largest publicly traded real estate investment trust (REIT) specializing in the ownership, operation and development of temperature-controlled warehouses.