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Daseke Hires Trucks USA CFO

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Daseke Inc.

hired a new chief financial officer from a small rival

USA Truck Inc.

the company is disturbed by the threat that coronaviruses represent for networks as well as by fluctuations in the oil market.

Based in Addison, Texas, Daseke said Thursday that Jason Bates will join the company on Monday as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Mr. Bates currently holds these positions at USA Truck in Van Buren, Ark. He will step down on Friday.

The trucking industry has been hit hard by the pandemic as sudden spikes and drops in demand have unbalanced the freight networks, and Daseke, which offers flatbed and other truck services primarily focused on manufacturing and construction is no exception.

Bates will move to a larger, more complex business with far more debt and will likely be responsible for saving money while investing in the financial markets. Daseke ended 2019 with $ 704.1 million in long-term debt, according to the financial statements. USA Truck held $ 83.3 million in long-term debt last year.

Daseke has a good debt and no one knows exactly what the next few years could bring, said Bates in an interview.

To manage this debt, he will have to navigate the multi-layered operational structure of Dasekes, which has grown through acquisitions and now includes a number of companies with their own local management and operations teams, analysts said. . The range of companies includes Aveda Transportation and Energy Services Inc., which moves drilling rigs that Daseke purchased in 2018.

You have to be freaky about all the little items in your profit and loss account and manage those costs sparingly, and be stingy with how you make sure to tighten your belt so you don’t get exposed, said Bates.

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The coronavirus has accelerated the need to cut costs, said Ryan Sigdahl, analyst at Craig-Hallum Capital Group LLC in Minneapolis, which could mean at Daseke a reduction in the number of trucks in its fleet while moving the same amount of goods and equipment.

The company is unlikely to have liquidity problems during the pandemic, having ended last year with $ 95.7 million in cash, said David Ross, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp. at Miami.

All companies are trying to get as much cash as possible because no one knows exactly what’s going to happen in the future, he said. It’s better to have less leverage than a lot of leverage, but I think Daseke will be able to get by.

Bates said he quit USA Truck for family reasons, noting that moving to a small town in rural Arkansas from a large metropolitan area was more difficult than they expected . Before USA Truck, Mr. Bates had spent 14 years as CFO at

Swift Transportation Co.

in Phoenix, where he helped the company manage its debt after the 2008 financial crisis, he said.

He said he started interviewing for Daseke’s job shortly after the company appointed Chris Easter general manager in February.

USA Truck has stated that its corporate controller Zachary King will succeed Mr. Bates as chief financial officer.

Write to Mark Maurer at [email protected]

Copyright 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

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