USA Truck chief sees a ‘better trajectory’ in 2015

simone-tractor-2013Less than two years ago Van Buren-based USA Truck was losing money faster than a fur coat sales booth at a PETA rally. Company shares, which historically traded between $10-$20 per share, had dipped below $3. By the end of 2013, the company would post five consecutive years of losses that totaled almost $48 million – wiping out the $45.76 million in net income earned between 2001 and 2008. The company likely would have been shot if it were a horse.

In late 2012 the USA Truck Board of Directors reached out to Harvard graduate Robert Peiser to chair the Board and get the company back in the black. Peiser, known in corporate circles as someone able to rescue a company for future growth or acquisition, hired John Simone in early 2013. He had a reputation in the trucking and logistics sector for tidying up troubled operations.

Peiser and Simone began making wholesale changes to USA Truck’s corporate philosophy, management and strategy. The effort was soon made more difficult when a hostile takeover attempt was made by Phoenix-based Knight Transportation. Knight eventually withdrew from the fight.

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