Execs at major fleets take salary cuts as part of COVID-19 cost cutting

Executives at Werner, Covenant and Knight-Swift have accepted temporary salary reductions due to the economic drag and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.Executives at Werner, Covenant and Knight-Swift have accepted temporary salary reductions due to the economic drag and uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Executives for at least three major fleets that operate heavily in the for-hire truckload segment have agreed to take temporary salary reductions as a means to cut costs during the economic stall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Knight-Swift Transportation, Werner Enterprises and Covenant Transportation have filed 8-K forms with the Securities and Exchange Commission to log the compensation changes.

All three fleets in their SEC filings cite uncertainty of economic conditions as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on and as the associated economic freeze caused by shelter-in-place orders, shuttered manufacturing and closure of retail and restaurants, among other closures and cancellations, has eroded freight demand.

At Knight-Swift (No. 4, CCJ Top 250), the company’s CEO David Jackson, CFO Adam Miller, Chairman Kevin Knight and Vice Chairman Gary Knight have agreed to a 20% reduction in their base salary from April 13 through July 10.

Werner (No. 11,) said in its filing that Executive Chairman Clarence Werner will take a pay cut of $250,000 for the rest of the year. CEO Derek Leathers has agreed to a salary reduction of 25% through July 2. Others taking a 15% cut through July 2 include COO Marty Nordlund, CFO John Steele and Chief Administrative Officer Jim Schelble. Senior VPs have agreed to a salary reduction of 10%.

Covenant Transportation (No. 35) CEO David Parker will take a 15% pay cut for the remainder of the year. Other executives will take a 10% cut, including CFO Richard Cribbs and President Joey Hogan. John Tweed, head of Covenant subsidiary LandAir, and Ryan Rogers, Covenant executive vice president, will also see a 10% pay cut through the end of the year.