Christopher Easter has retired as CEO of Daseke and as a member of the its board of directors as of Dec. 31, 2020. Jonathan Shepko, a current Daseke director, has been appointed as Interim CEO until a permanent successor is identified and hired. And founder Don Daseke may be coming back to the board of directors.
The company, one of the nation’s largest flatbed carriers, has engaged an executive search firm to assist in the search for Easter's successor, Daseke said in a statement.
In a separate announcement, Daseke said it had reached agreements with Lyons Capital LLC and its affiliates, who hold approximately 5% of the company’s stock, and with founder Don Daseke and his affiliates, who hold approximately 28% of the company’s stock. The agreement with Lyons puts Grant Garbers on the board of directors, replacing Kevin Charlton, who was president and COO at Hennesy Capital, which took the carrier public via a special purpose acquisition company merger in 2017.
The agreement with Don Daseke calls for the company re-nominate him for election to the board at the 2021 annual meeting.
The company has also agreed to implement a stock buy-back program and to purchase at least 3 million shares of Daseke common stock.
Easter began his career at Daseke as COO in early 2019 and assumed the role of interim CEO in August of 2019, when Don Daseke stepped down as CEO and chairman of the board of the flatbed trucking company he founded. Easter was named permanent CEO less than a year ago.
“This has been a very difficult decision for me personally, but I have a number of family-related obligations that need my full attention,” Easter said in a statement. “As a result, I made the decision to retire from Daseke at the end of . Over the past two years, I have been fortunate to work alongside some of the most dedicated and talented people in the flatbed and specialized trucking industry, and I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. We have successfully executed a dramatic turnaround in our performance while navigating through a global pandemic. Daseke’s strategy is sound, the business is performing well, and the team is poised to continue forward with this momentum. I have an enormous amount of confidence in Daseke’s future.”
Board Chairman Brian Bonner said, “We are grateful to Chris for his leadership and want to extend our thanks for the many contributions he has made at Daseke. Among other things, Chris helped to reset our operational strategy and built a solid leadership team with decades of transportation experience."
Shepko said, "We must continue our transformation. Brian and I have been extensively involved in helping reset the strategy at Daseke and will help ensure continuity of mission and aggressive execution on our key priorities."
Daseke also announced that the business performed well during the fourth quarter. Based on preliminary results and excluding the positive impact of the wind-down of the Aveda Transportation business, Daseke expects to achieve its internal financial forecasts and expects results to be approximately in-line with analyst consensus for revenue and adjusted EBITDA. Daseke expects to release earnings and host a conference call at the end of January.