Arkansas Best’s Young to retire as CEO, continue as chairman

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Arkansas Best Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Young III will retire as CEO effective Jan. 31, 2006, but will continue as a chairman of the board of directors as a nonemployee, the company announced. Young, 65, is Arkansas Best’s largest noninstitutional shareholder with about 8.8 percent of the company’s outstanding shares.

The Fort Smith, Ark.-based company said Robert A. Davidson, now president and chief operating officer, will become the company’s CEO. Davidson will continue to be the president and CEO of ABF Freight System, Arkansas Best’s largest subsidiary. Young has worked for the publicly traded company for 41 years. In 1973, he became president of Arkansas Best and from 1973 to 1988 he was COO. He was president of ABF Freight System Inc. from 1979 to 1994, and he became CEO of Arkansas Best in 1988.

Arkansas Best had third-quarter net income of $40.6 million, up 48.6 percent from $27.4 million from the third quarter of 2004. Revenue for the third quarter was up 6.1 percent from $461.9 million in 2004 to $489.9 million this year.