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Robert A. Peiser, Former Board Chairman at USA Truck, Dies at 70

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USA Truck Inc. of Van Buren announced that Robert A. “Bob” Peiser, its former chairman of the board, died Wednesday night at the age of 70.

Peiser had resigned from the company on Tuesday and USA Truck filed a notice with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission the next day. No cause of death was released.

Board member Alexander Greene was named the company’s new chairman.

“It is with a heavy heart that we share the news of Bob’s passing Wednesday night,” USA Truck CEO James Reed said in a statement. “He was an inspirational leader and fierce advocate for USA Truck —  unmistakably direct, intensely competitive and a tough but reasonable business person who balanced that toughness with incredible humor and compassion.

“Bob was the consummate professional and best board member I ever met. He was unflappable and even tempered in tense situations and unmatched in his logic and reasoning —  he saw clearly among ambiguity and confusion — it was his ‘Jedi skill.’ “

Peiser had joined the company’s board in February 2012 and was named chairman in November, replacing Terry Elliott. USA Truck had just posted a record $6.1 million third-quarter loss, and Peiser oversaw the hiring of new CEO John Simone.

Simone started the company’s turnaround before dying of lung cancer in 2016.

Peiser survived a protest non-vote at the 2013 shareholders meeting. An outside advisory group had urged shareholders to withhold their votes in protest since the company didn’t submit a “poison pill” plan for a vote.

Peiser received 3.4 million votes but 4.9 million votes were withheld. Peiser submitted his resignation to the board, which voted to keep him as chairman.

In addition to his position at USA Truck, Peiser had been CEO and chairman of the board at Omniflight Helicopters Inc. and was CEO and a board member at Imperial Sugar Co. He was CFO of Trans World Airlines.

Peiser graduated with a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and earned an MBA from Harvard. Peiser is survived by his wife, Nancy, four children and eight grandchildren.

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