- After about five years in the position
- Praise and thanks for Gantt
- Marty Freeman taking over
- Gantt spoke at length and said 134 words
(exechange) — Thomasville, North Carolina, January 31, 2023 — Greg Gantt, chief executive of Old Dominion, leaves. As announced by Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, January 31, 2023, Greg C. Gantt, chief executive officer, leaves the less-than-truckload carrier, after about five years in the role, effective June 30, 2023.
The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.5 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.
Greg Gantt’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Kevin M. (Marty) Freeman, currently Chief Operating Officer at Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.
“Part of our long-term succession plan”
Greg Gantt’s planned departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Gantt stated: “This change in leadership was part of our long-term succession plan, which has supported our ability to develop leaders from within our organization and prepare them to lead the Company into the future.”
The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (27.3% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (9.2%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (5.6% of cases), personal reasons (3%) and conduct issues (2.1%). Rather rarely stated reasons are career change (2.1% of cases), health problems (1.8%), death (0.9%), the desire for more time with family (0.6%) and disagreement (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.9% of cases, no reason was given.
Precise information regarding Greg Gantt’s future plans was not immediately available.
Old Dominion said: “Mr. Gantt will retire from the Company effective June 30, 2023, but expects to remain a member of the Company’s Board of Directors.”
Old Dominion further said: “On January 25, 2023, Greg C. Gantt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Old Dominion Freight Line, Inc. (the “Company”) and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”), notified the Company of his intention to retire from his positions as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, effective June 30, 2023.”
Generally, retirements are seen as formally voluntary departures. Still, CEOs may also be pressured to accelerate their retirement plans. In fact, 35% of the time “retire” was used in CEO departure announcements over the past 12 months, the departing chief executive received a Push-out Score above the critical threshold of 5, indicating elevated pressure.
Share price increase since May 2018
The announcement follows an increase in Old Dominion Freight Line Inc.’s share price of 266% since May 2018. May 2018 is the month in which Gantt’s tenure as CEO began.
In the position of CEO since 2018
Greg Gantt became CEO of the Company in 2018.
Greg C. Gantt was first elected as a director in 2018.
He has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer since May 2018 and previously served as the Company’s President and Chief Operating Officer from May 2015 to May 2018.
He was the Company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer from June 2011 to May 2015, and served as the Company’s Senior Vice President – Operations from January 2002 to June 2011.
He joined the Company in November 1994 and was one of the Company’s regional Vice Presidents until January 2002.
Prior to his employment with the Company, Gantt served in many operational capacities with Carolina Freight Carriers Corporation, including Vice President of its Southern Region.
134 words by Greg Gantt
In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., Greg Gantt received praise and thanks.
In announcing the leadership change, Greg Gantt spoke at length and said 134 words.
“An exceptional leader”
Greg Gantt stated: “It has been a privilege to serve Old Dominion as President and Chief Executive Officer, and I am pleased that the Board has elected Marty to succeed me upon my retirement. Marty and I have worked closely together for most of my career, and he is an exceptional leader and champion of Old Dominion. This change in leadership was part of our long-term succession plan, which has supported our ability to develop leaders from within our organization and prepare them to lead the Company into the future. We have an outstanding team at Old Dominion, and I am confident that Marty and his team will continue to execute on our proven long-term strategic plan and take the Company to new heights. I look forward to watching Old Dominion continue to lead the LTL industry.”
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 109 words. The longest statement was 510 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.
35% 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 337 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (January 31, 2022, to January 30, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 5.8, 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 35% 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, one in three departing CEOs were forced out or fired.
Pressure in the industrials sector somewhat 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, health care and consumer staples sectors showed the highest average Push-out Scores. By contrast, pressure on CEOs was lowest in the real estate, utilities and financials sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.
In the industrials sector, which includes Old Dominion Freight Line Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 4.6, which is somewhat 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 Greg Gantt’s move determined
The Push-out Score regarding Greg Gantt’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.
exechange reached out to Old Dominion and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.
Read the full story in the exechange report 6.2023 ($).