Report: FedEx National LTL chief Watkins resigns

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Trucking executive Chip Watkins reportedly has resigned from his position as president and chief executive officer of FedEx National LTL. The Lakeland (Fla.) Ledger reported today, March 6, that Watkins cited personal reasons for the sudden departure and said he will take a job with his family’s company, Atlanta-based Watkins Associated Industries.

Watkins, 44, helped oversee the transition for Lakeland-based Watkins Motor Lines when it was acquired by Memphis, Tenn.-based FedEx last year for $780 million. The new company, which specializes in long-haul shipping services as part of FedEx’s $3.6 billion freight segment, was rebranded FedEx National LTL.

Patrick Reed, executive vice president and chief operating officer of FedEx Freight, praised Watkins for his service to the company. “We hate to see Chip go, but certainly understand why he’s leaving,” Reed told the Ledger. “I can’t say enough about what Chip has meant to this organization.”

Robert K. Simons will succeed Watkins, according to the Ledger. Simons, 66, senior vice president of operations for FedEx National LTL, began his career with Watkins Motor Lines in 1994 as a manager of the company’s Pacific Southwest district. He ascended quickly to a regional vice president’s position and then vice president of field operations before assuming his most recent post in 1999.