Jake Lawson

U.S. Xpress sales chief to depart

Aug. 18, 2022
The exit of the former Whirlpool VP adds to the list of recent executive departures as the company looks to control its costs. Fleet CEO wants to streamline the carrier's structure as he looks to get a better handle on the company’s Variant unit.

The chief commercial officer at U.S. Xpress Enterprises is preparing to leave the company as part of its efforts to cut costs.

Jake Lawson has been overseeing the sales, pricing, and customer engagement teams at Chattanooga-based U.S. Xpress (No. 18 on the FleetOwner 500: Top For-Hire Fleets of 2022 list) since early last year. The 45-year-old joined U.S. Xpress after nearly 14 years at Whirlpool Corp., where he was most recently VP and general manager of its relationship with Lowe’s, the company’s largest customer. He also held senior positions overseeing refrigeration and e-commerce at Whirlpool during his time there.

In a filing with regulators, U.S. Xpress said Lawson and the company late last week mutually decided to part ways and that the executive will transition his work to teammates over the next four to six weeks. In the filing, Lawson said his departure will help President and CEO Eric Fuller streamline U.S. Xpress’ structure as he looks to get a better handle on the company’s costs while trying to grow the truck count at its driver-centric Variant unit.

See also: ATRI: Trucking endures 'costliest year ever'

“Given current market conditions and the company’s focus on improving profitability, Eric and I agreed the best course for the company and myself was to restructure and consolidate the executive team,” Lawson said.

Fuller—who recently reported a small second-quarter loss for U.S. Xpress—praised Lawson for his work in helping U.S. Xpress’ sales, customer experience, and revenue management groups mature.

“Jake’s input has been critical in designing the future structure of our commercial organization and he will be essential in ensuring we have a seamless transition in the weeks ahead,” Fuller said.

When he leaves, Lawson will become the fourth senior executive in a year to leave U.S Xpress without being replaced. Former Chief Information Officer Robert Pischke left last September, Cameron Ramsdell was fired from his role as president of Variant and OTR operations in December and Chief Technology Officer Joel Gard was shown the door in May.

U.S. Xpress in 2021 paid Lawson a base salary of $480,000 and, to replace incentives he had given up by leaving Whirlpool, gave him a sign-on bonus of $337,500 and company stock then worth more than $630,000. At year’s end, he was paid a short-term incentive of $240,000.

Shares of U.S. Xpress (Ticker: USX) closed trading on Aug. 17 at $2.81, down nearly 3% on the day. Over the past six months, is has lost a third of its value, shrinking the company’s market capitalization to about $145 million. The company went public in June 2018, pricing its shares at $16 apiece.

About the Author

Geert De Lombaerde | Senior Editor

A native of Belgium, Geert De Lombaerde has more than two decades of business journalism experience and writes about markets and economic trends for Endeavor Business Media publications FleetOwner, Healthcare InnovationIndustryWeek, Oil & Gas Journal and T&D World. With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he began his reporting career at the Business Courier in Cincinnati and later was managing editor and editor of the Nashville Business Journal. Most recently, he oversaw the online and print products of the Nashville Post and reported primarily on Middle Tennessee’s finance sector as well as many of its publicly traded companies.

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