Peter Rose, the long-time chief executive officer of Expeditors International who retired in March but was to serve as chairman of the board of directors until May 2015, has resigned his position.
Rose, who helped found the Seattle-based company in 1981, announced in October his pending departure from the CEO position after 25 years in the role. At the time, Rose said he would remain as chairman of the board of directors in order to help ease the transition to the new chief executive officer. In 2012, the board decided that when Rose retired, his position of chief executive officer and chairman of the board would be split into two jobs.
In December, Jeffrey Musser was selected to be the new director, president and CEO of Expeditors. With Rose’s early departure, Robert Wright, who has been the lead independent director of the board since 2010, will ascend to the chairmanship.
In a letter to employees, Rose said his early departure will allow Expeditors to properly adapt and change along with its new leaders, according to a press release.
“Peter has always been a strong leader. He hired most of us, and trained and mentored all of us and his influence on this company is deep and profound. One of the things that he’s always taught us to do is to be resolute in making the tough decisions and make them with integrity intact,” Musser said in a statement. “Peter’s concern and desire that the strength of his personality and the influence of his day-to-day presence not directly impact the senior management team’s direction are particularly noteworthy and meaningful to us.”
Last week, Expeditors reported that net earnings rose 4 percent, year-over-year, during the first quarter on a 6-percent rise in revenues. Ocean freight volumes rose 12 percent, year over year, propped up by large increases in January and March; air cargo volumes grew by 6 percent.
In an investor note, Nate Brochmann of William Blair wrote that it would take the “optimistic view” and see this move to a new company direction as leading to growth. There are no details regarding the company’s strategic assessment, but the Brochmann noted that it could bring both positive and negative aspects. Expeditors “is ready to move in a different direction” is the only certainty this early in the process, he wrote.
He also noted that until more details are known, Expedtiors’ stock will rise with the news of Rose’s departure.
“We believe the biggest risk would be a disruption to the culture, which Mr. Rose helped establish and which has been critical to the company's success,” Brochmann wrote. “However, any move toward being more aggressive with either growth opportunities or returning cash to shareholders would be a net positive, in our view.”