C.H. Robinson CEO Bob Biesterfeld leaves

  • After less than four years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Biesterfeld
  • Scott Anderson taking over temporarily
  • Search for a successor
  • Biesterfeld said 69 words

(exechange) — Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 3, 2023 — Bob Biesterfeld, chief executive of C.H. Robinson, leaves his position. As announced by C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, Robert C. (Bob) Biesterfeld has left his post as chief executive officer at the third-party logistics provider and freight brokerage giant, after less than four years in the role, effective December 31, 2022.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.3 years. This is according to data collected by CEO-exit research firm exechange.

exechange tracks CEO departures at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., examines the reasons CEOs leave and determines the Push‑out Score™, a measure of pressure on departing chief executives on a scale of 0 to 10.

C.H. Robinson will undertake a search for a successor.

Bob Biesterfeld’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Scott Anderson, most recently Chair of the Board of Directors at C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

“Accelerate our strategic initiatives”

C.H. Robinson did not give an explicit reason for Bob Biesterfeld’s departure from the CEO post. Anderson said: “Now is the right time for C.H. Robinson to accelerate our strategic initiatives and the Board is focused on identifying a CEO successor who can execute on the opportunities ahead for Robinson. I look forward to working closely with our talented employees to continue to improve our customer and carrier experience, and scale our digital processes to foster sustainable growth.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.4% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.2%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (8.4%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (6.3% of cases), personal reasons (3%) and conduct issues (2.4%). Rather rarely stated reasons are health problems (2.1% of cases), career change (2.1%), the desire for more time with family (0.9%), disagreement (0.6%) and death (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.9% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Bob Biesterfeld’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Stepped down”

C.H. Robinson said: “Bob Biesterfeld has stepped down as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board, effective December 31, 2022.”

C.H. Robinson further said: “Bob Biesterfeld stepped down as President and Chief Executive Officer and a director of the Company, effective at the end of December 31, 2022, and his employment terminated January 1, 2023.”

Share price decline since January 2022

The announcement follows a decline in C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc.’s share price of 15% since January 2022.

In the position of CEO since 2019

Bob Biesterfeld became CEO of the Company in 2019.

Robert C. Biesterfeld Jr. has been the president and the chief executive officer of C.H. Robinson since May 2019 and has served as a director of the company since May 2019.

Prior to becoming president and chief executive officer in May 2019, he held the positions of chief operating officer from March 2018 to May 2019, president of North American Surface Transportation from January 2016 to December 2018, vice president of Truckload from January 2014 to December 2015, and vice president of Temperature Controlled Transportation and Sourcing Services from January 2013 to December 2013.

He began his career with Robinson Fresh in 1999. Currently, Biesterfeld serves as a trustee of the Winona State University Foundation.

Biesterfeld served on the Board of Directors for the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA) from June 2015 to May 2020.

Biesterfeld received a Bachelor of Arts from Winona State University.

69 words by Bob Biesterfeld

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., Bob Biesterfeld received praise, thanks and good wishes.

In the announcement of the leadership change, Bob Biesterfeld said 69 words.

“I am proud”

Bob Biesterfeld stated: “It has been a privilege to lead C.H. Robinson and this exceptional team. I am proud of all that we have achieved together, and it has been a pleasure working with so many talented members of the team throughout the organization during my tenure as CEO. I am confident that C.H. Robinson’s industry leading people and culture will continue to ensure that the company is well-positioned for the future.”

Over the past 12 months, 26% of all outgoing CEOs remained silent in the departure announcement, according to data compiled by exechange. Departing CEOs who did make a statement said an average of 108 words. The longest statement was 382 words. The shortest statement was 23 words. Leadership transitions in which departing CEOs provide conspicuously short, excessively long or no explanations for their move are statistically associated with elevated pressure and show an increased incidence of Push-out Scores above the critical threshold of 5.

32% of CEOs are forced out or fired

When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position, with 0 being most likely a voluntary move and 10 being most likely a forced exit. Anything over a 5 indicates that there are valid reasons to believe an executive may have been pushed out.

Of the 333 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (January 3, 2022, to January 2, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 5.6, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When time with family, performance issues or other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 32% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.

In other words, in the past 12 months, three in 10 departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Pressure in the industrials sector substantially below the critical threshold

Some industries are under generally higher pressure than others, and CEOs are feeling the strain. In the past 12 months, the communication, consumer staples and health care sectors showed the highest average Push-out Scores. By contrast, pressure on CEOs was lowest in the real estate, financials and industrials sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.

In the industrials sector, which includes C.H. Robinson Worldwide Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 4.4, which is substantially below the critical threshold of 5.

Nevertheless, even in this sector, some CEOs were compelled to leave their posts under what appeared to be severe stress. In the industrials sector, 10 exiting CEOs received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher over the past 12 months, indicating that they were most likely forced out or faced strong pressure to step down.

Push-out Score for Bob Biesterfeld’s move determined

The Push-out Score regarding Bob Biesterfeld’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.

exechange reached out to C.H. Robinson and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 2.2023 ($).