Universal Logistics Holdings names new CEO amid ‘soft’ environment

Universal Logistics truck on the road

Universal Logistics Holdings (NASDAQ: ULH) announced that the board has tapped Tim Phillips to be the company’s new CEO and president.

The press release stated that Phillips succeeded CEO Jeff Rogers, “who separated from service with the company as [CEO], president and a director” effective Friday.

Matthew Moroun, Universal’s chairman of the board, said, “I would like to express my gratitude to Jeff for his leadership and the contributions he has made to Universal’s success.”

The announcement follows a tough quarter for the company.

Universal reported a more than $8 million net loss for the third quarter of 2019, which included a $24.8 million legal settlement, recurring litigation expenses and lost operating income attributed to the United Auto Workers General Motors strike. The company also cited a “soft freight environment” as another reason for the financial underperformance.

After the release of the third-quarter report, shares of ULH gapped down 20% in the following trading session. The stock closed the following week nearly 25% lower.

The tide may have not turned yet for the company. On Dec. 18, the company announced that it had laid off up to 70 port drivers, again citing “soft freight conditions.”

“Tim is a highly skilled veteran of the transportation industry. He possesses a keen attention to detail, and he has a proven record of growth and profit. The entire board of directors would like to congratulate Tim, and we look forward to his leadership,” continued Moroun.

Phillips has also served as head of the company’s intermodal division since 2009.

In November, Universal acquired Roadrunner Transportation Systems’ (NYSE: RRTS) intermodal unit for $51.25 million in cash. The unit has 23 terminals across the U.S. and was reported to generate $125 million in revenue for the last 12 months ended Sept. 30.

“I am honored to be appointed to lead Universal’s 12,000 associates and drivers across North America. I would like to thank the board of directors for its confidence that I will continue transforming the company into a world-class provider of transportation and logistics services,” Phillips said.

Phillips’ promotion includes a seat on Universal’s board.

Universal Logistics Holdings is an asset-light provider of truckload, brokerage, intermodal, dedicated and value-added transportation and logistics services throughout the United States and in Mexico, Canada and Colombia.

Shares of ULH are slightly lower on the day.

ULH Stock Price Chart – SONAR: STOCK.ULH