Old Dominion executive VP/COO Yowell dies

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Updated Jan 5, 2011

Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. announced the passing of John B. Yowell, executive vice president and chief operating officer, on Dec. 30. A 27-year employee of Old Dominion, Yowell had served in his current position since January 2008 and as executive vice president since May 1997. During his career, he also held senior positions in a number of functional areas within Old Dominion, including Corporate Services, Operations and Information Technology.

“John served Old Dominion with distinction in positions of increasing responsibility spanning almost three decades,” says David Congdon, president and chief executive officer of the Thomasville, N.C.-based company, who credited Yowell’s contribution to Old Dominion’s growth in value from about $100 million at its initial public offering in 1991 to nearly $1.8 billion today. “For many years at Old Dominion, we have spoken of the ‘OD Family Spirit,’ and John Yowell truly exemplified the ‘OD Family Spirit’ in every aspect of his life,” Congdon says. “He was a special member of the OD family who served as an industry leader, a mentor and a role model for many within the company. Although he will be missed, he will not be forgotten as his legacy will live on in those he has prepared for the future. We mourn his passing and will miss his dedication, his expertise and the bond of friendship he had with each of our employees. Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s family.”

Old Dominion also announced the promotion of Kevin “Marty” Freeman to senior vice president of sales and Cecil “Chip” Overbey Jr. to senior vice president of marketing, pricing and strategic development. Freeman had been vice president of field sales, and Overbey was vice president of national accounts and marketing. In addition, Greg Gantt, senior vice president of operations, will assume additional responsibilities in the areas of corporate and field services. All three of these individuals formerly reported to Yowell and now will report to Congdon, who says the promotions and the overall reassignment of responsibilities are consistent with the company’s board-approved succession plan for executive officers.

“We congratulate Marty and Chip on their promotions and are confident of their ability to excel in their expanded areas of responsibility,” Congdon says. “Both of these individuals bring vast experience to their new positions, Marty having served 20 years within the OD sales organization and Chip having served 15 years within the OD sales and marketing organizations. We are equally confident in Greg’s ability to assume additional responsibilities in his current role.”