Roberts to succeed Thompson as J.B. Hunt president/CEO

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Updated Oct 29, 2010

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. on Thursday, Oct. 28, announced that Kirk Thompson plans to step down from his role as president and chief executive officer on Dec. 31. He was elected to the position of chairman of the board effective Jan. 1, 2011, replacing Wayne Garrison, who will remain a director. Thompson, who has worked with the board on this transition for several years, has been with the company for 37 years and has served as CEO since 1987.

Thompson oversaw the Lowell, Ark.-based company’s growth from revenue of $286 million in 1987 to a projected $3.8 billion in 2010. Over his tenure, the company transitioned from a truckload carrier to a multifaceted transportation services company. The company’s market capitalization has grown from $500 million to more than $4.4 billion during the same timeframe.

“With the company’s strategic positioning well established and operational execution at such a high level, this is the right time for me to step back from the day-to-day operations,” Thompson says. “We have an outstanding team of leaders that is both wide and deep. They are more than capable of taking the company to even greater heights in the future.”

The board elected John N. Roberts III, age 46, president and CEO effective Jan. 1, 2011, and elected him to the board effective immediately. Roberts has been with the company for 21 years and currently serves as president of Dedicated Contract Services. He has led DCS from revenue of $150 million in 1997 to an enterprise that soon will surpass $1.0 billion in revenues as a separate business segment.

“John and I have worked together closely for the last 13 years after he was drafted to lead DCS in a ‘battlefield promotion,’ ” Thompson says. “His response to that challenge and the challenges of growing a startup business to almost $1.0 billion has been nothing short of outstanding. The board and I are confident he will do a similarly outstanding job as the fourth CEO in J.B. Hunt Transport Services’ history. I look forward to continuing to be a part of this highly respected team of transportation and logistics professionals.”

In addition to these changes, also effective Jan. 1, 2011, Nick Hobbs has been promoted to president of DCS to assume Roberts’ position. Hobbs has been with the company for more than 26 years, serving in many capacities during that time. His most recent responsibilities were as senior vice president of operations for DCS, a role he has held for the past 12 years.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to Kirk for his leadership and vision which guided us here,” Roberts says. “I am honored to have been chosen as CEO from a short list of very qualified people. I am particularly thankful to have Kirk staying close at hand as our chairman.”