ADW Capital Takes 3 Percent Stake in USA Truck, Calls for CEO's Ouster

by Marty Cook  on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 6:22 pm  

USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren.

The managing member of ADW Capital Partners LP of New York City has called for a change in leadership and a selling off of divisions at USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren.

In a letter to the trucking company’s board of directors, Adam Wyden said he would like to see CEO John Simone ousted. He also said the company's board should consider the sale of its truckload division, the sale of its Strategic Capacity Solutions division or the "sale of USA Truck in its entirety."

Wyden, 30, and the son of U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said his $30 million hedge fund owns about 3 percent of USA Truck stock (Nasdaq: USAK), purchased in the months after Knight Transportation of Phoenix made public its $242 million bid to takeover the company.

The letter to USA Truck's board, which Wyden made public Monday, said Simone has had more than enough time to turn the company around. In the past two years, Wyden has written similar letters to at least four other companies in which ADW has a minority stake.

More: Read the entire letter here.

"I’d like to see them fire John Simone," Wyden said. "It’s ridiculous they had Cliff Beckham there so long. I know people in the South like to be nice. I’m not interested in being an Arkansas blue blood. You’ve got a trucking company that is not making any money."

The call for Simone's ouster comes 18 months after Simone took over as CEO USA Truck and less than one month after the firm posted its first quarterly profit since 2011. 

On July 31, USA Truck posted second-quarter net income of $700,000, or 7 cents per share, a rebound from a $1.4 million loss in the same quarter last year. 

In a phone interview Monday, Wyden complained about the USA Truck’s leadership selling off shares of the company, specifically Beckham, USA Truck's CFO and former chief executive, who is leaving the company effective Sept. 30. 

Since announcing his resignation Aug. 7, Beckham has sold off several chunks of stock. In an unrelated interview with Arkansas Business on Friday, Beckham said it was the first time he’d sold any USA Truck shares and would retain about half his holdings.

Beckham was CEO of USA Truck for five years before Simone was hired. Beckham didn’t respond to a request for comment on Monday.

"I’m very dissatisfied with the company," Wyden said. "Cliff was very successful in running the company into the ground."

 

 

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