Werner's founder, Clarence L. Werner, has stepped down, opening the door for current CEO Derek Leathers to fully take the reins. - Photo: Werner Enterprises

Werner's founder, Clarence L. Werner, has stepped down, opening the door for current CEO Derek Leathers to fully take the reins.

Photo: Werner Enterprises

Nebraska-based Werner Enterprises announced that Clarence L. Werner has stepped down as its executive chairman but will continue to serve as chairman of the board until May 2021.

Derek Leathers, the current CEO and president, has been appointed as a member and vice chairman of the board, with Werner recommending Leathers be named chairman when his term ends and he is named chairman emeritus.

CL Werner started Werner Enterprises with one truck in 1956. When he sold that truck, he bought two, and he continued that process early in his career to create one of the top truckload carriers in the country.

“All I ever wanted to do was drive a truck,” he said. “As the first driver for our company, I know first-hand that professional drivers are, and have always been, the backbone of our country. America is witnessing that now more than ever. I’ve been proud to have created such a company. But my intent was nothing more than being able to drive a truck, provide exceptional service, meet good people, and hope I could convince the best of them to come to work for me…and it worked.

"There comes a moment when you know it’s just time to move on. I’m in good health, and Werner has never been in a better position than it is today. So now is the time. I have the utmost confidence in Derek and his leadership team to continue to take Werner to the next level and beyond.”

In connection with the transition, the company also announced an underwritten public offering of more than 12 million shares of its common stock by the Clarence L. Werner Revocable Trust, subject to market conditions and other factors. The Clarence L. Werner Revocable Trust is also expected to grant the underwriter of the offering, Morgan Stanley, a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1.2 million shares of common stock.

Werner Enterprises, Inc. has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for the offering.

Updated 3:10 p.m. EDT 6/4/2020 to add comments from C.L. Werner.

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