Share
August 15, 2019 1:00 PM, EDT

Don Daseke Steps Down as CEO of Daseke Inc.

Don Daseke Daseke Inc.

[Stay on top of transportation news: Get TTNews in your inbox.]

Don Daseke, chairman and CEO of Daseke Inc., will retire from the company effective immediately, the Addison, Texas-based company said Aug. 15.

Daseke, a major flatbed and specialized transportation and logistics company, said Don Daseke will continue as a member of the board with the title “chairman emeritus.”

Daseke’s board of directors appointed Chris Easter, its chief operating officer, as interim CEO, also effective immediately.

ACCELERATORS: Don Daseke: ‘My Philosophy Is to Invest in People’

The company said Daseke will work with Easter in an advisory capacity to help ensure transition while the board conducts a search for a permanent CEO.

The company’s board also appointed Brian Bonner as executive chairman, effective immediately.

Daseke Inc. ranks No. 21 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.

“I am leaving the company in the hands of a very strong and deep leadership team across the organization,” said Don Daseke in a statement. “Investing in people has always been my guiding principle and we have invested in this team, which makes me very confident that they will help Daseke achieve its full potential.”

“Don has been an inspirational force for Daseke since its inception and has led the company with vision and integrity throughout his tenure,” said Bonner, in a press release. “We thank Don for his leadership, under which we proudly became the largest flatbed and specialized carrier in North America.”

Easter said Don Daseke’s work helped the company become a leading specialized and flatbed platform “that is truly unique in the transportation industry.”

Christopher Easter

Easter

Easter said the Daseke company will focus on integration and efficiency, and is expected to deliver between $20 million and $25 million in operating income on a go-forward basis in fiscal 2021 and beyond.

Daseke reported a net loss of $6.4 million, or 10 cents per share, in the quarter ended June 30, compared with net income of $13.5 million, or 22 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. The company said revenue surged 20% to $450.6 million, from $376.9 million in the second quarter of 2018.

Greg Hirsch, Daseke senior vice president, said Don Daseke's surprise retirement did not have anything to do with the company's recent quarterly performance. Instead, Don Daseke thought it was a good time to hand the baton.

"He's been building (Daseke Inc.) for 10 years," said Hirsch. "He's been developing this team."

Daseke founded the company in 2008, and in its first year made about $30 million in revenue, Hirsch said. Growing by acquisition by adding such companies as Roadmaster Group and Boyd Bros. Transportation, the company grossed $1.77 billion in 2018.

The plan now is to focus on Daseke Inc.'s size, scale and operating costs, said Hirsch. As for Don Daseke, he will still be coming in the doors every morning and heading to his desk, Hirsch said.

"He'll be at the office every day," said Hirsch.

Easter has been Daseke’s COO since January 2019. His background includes more than 30 years of operational leadership serving in transportation and logistics roles with the U.S. Army, Walmart and Schneider National.

For the past six years, Easter served as CEO of Keen Transport, a transportation, warehouse and logistics company focused on serving the industrial equipment market. During more than a decade with Walmart, he was responsible for overseeing the transportation of goods from around the world.

Bonner has served as a member of the Daseke board since February 2015. Previously, he spent 33 years with Texas Instruments Inc., where he served in a range of executive positions in business line management, global marketing, sales and new product development.

From January 2000 to May 2014 he served as the company’s chief information officer.

Daseke is one of the largest flatbed and specialized transportation and logistics companies in North America. The company has a fleet of approximately 6,000 tractors and 13,000 flatbed and specialized trailers, and more than 1 million square feet of industrial warehousing space.