Jerry Moyes, the founder, chairman & CEO of Phoenix-based truckload carrier Swift Transportation has officially relinquished his remaining executive positions at the carrier, though he remains on its board as a director. In his place, board member Jock Patton takes over as chairman and company president Robert Cunningham takes on the additional role as CEO.
Moyes, who founded Swift in 1966 and served as its chairman & CEO for nearly four decades, decided to step down from both of his executive positions two months ahead of his original January 2006 retirement date to give Swift’s new management team more planning time to map out Swift’s future.
“While it is never easy to step back from something you have built from the ground up, I am extremely proud of the team we have built and the strong reputation with our customers that we have all worked so hard to achieve,” said Moyes. “Swift Transportation is a great company with great people and a great future.”
The change didn’t come easy or willingly, however. Moyes settled a lawsuit brought against him by the Security and Exchange Commission for $1.26 million last year that accused him of insider stock trading. He later stepped down as president of the company in Nov. 2004. He also removed himself from the board of troubled LTL carrier Central Freight Lines after clashing with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters over his role in directing business from Central to some of the other freight companies Moyes owns.
He also tangled with truck maker Freightliner – which sued Swift for $10 million in 2002, accusing the carrier of over-billing it for warranty work – later switching to Volvo brand tractors in 2003. A merger with truckload rival M.S. Carriers in 2000 was painful as well, forcing Swift to take charges against earnings in ensuing years to recoup losses from M.S.’s Mexican operations.
Despite the rough and tumble patch of recent years, Moyes leaves behind a large legacy, literally building Swift up from a one-truck operation with himself at the wheel hauling steel, cotton, and produce out west to a $2.8 billion truckload behemoth with nearly 15,000 company trucks and almost 4,000 owner-operators under contract.
“Jerry Moyes is an icon in our industry and has touched all of our lives personally and professionally over the years,” said Swift’s Cunningham. “We have enormous respect for all he has accomplished. The management team will build on his legacy while aggressively pursuing its operational improvement initiatives and plan.”