Flatbed operator Daseke has taken the interim tag off Jonathan Shepko: He is now the company’s permanent chief executive officer.
Shepko joined Daseke (NASDAQ: DSKE) as interim CEO in January after the resignation of CEO Chris Easter. Shepko had been on the board at the time and had been a director since 2017 and a board observer since 2014, according to Daseke.
Shepko was a co-founder of Stonehollow Capital Partners. Besides private equity, he also has a background in energy.
When he stepped down, Easter cited family obligations. He had only been CEO since February 2020 but had begun to implement a revised strategy at the company that has coincided with a surge in the price of the company’s stock.
Daseke stock has performed well in recent months, up approximately 75% over the past year coming into Tuesday’s trading. However, it is down about 21% from its 52-week high of $9 recorded on April 5 and is well below the $14.32 price recorded on the first trading day of 2018.
In another positive development, S&P Global Ratings in February raised the company’s debt rating to B from B-. It is still in the category of speculative debt, several notches below what it would take to be considered investment grade.
Shepko enters a job whose predecessor had a total compensation package in 2020 of just under $5 million, according to the company’s proxy statement. The prior year’s package came in just under $2 million.
Charles Serianni, Daseke’s chairman, said in a prepared statement that Shepko was not an automatic choice to become permanent CEO and that the company had looked at other options. “The Board of Directors performed an extensive search, interviewed several candidates, and believes that Jonathan brings the appropriate skillset to lead the Company’s strategic path to growth and provides valuable continuity to support the Company as it finalizes its operational transformation,” Serriani said in the statement.
In the statement, Shepko was quoted as saying that Daseke “will continue to be focused on accelerating technology integration to increase our productivity and efficiency, streamlining our operational structure to create a cohesive network, and pursuing organic growth and targeted M&A to better serve our customers and drive efficiencies through our operating platform.”