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J.B. Hunt Names Shelley Simpson as Next CEO

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J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. of Lowell on Thursday named longtime executive Shelley Simpson as the company’s CEO, replacing John Roberts III.

Simpson, 52, who is currently president of the transportation and logistics company, will assume her new role beginning July 1.

J.B. Hunt also announced that former chairmen Kirk Thompson and Wayne Garrison would retire from the company’s board of directors and assume advisory roles as honorary founding directors, positions created for them. Thompson joined the company in 1973, served as CEO from 1987-2010 and has been chairman since 2011; Garrison joined J.B. Hunt in 1975, was CEO in 1987 and was chairman of the board from 1995 to 2010.

Roberts is replacing Thompson as the chairman of the board. Simpson will stand for election to the board when the company has its shareholders meeting April 27.

Simpson has been the president of J.B. Hunt since 2022. Since joining the company in 1994, Simpson has served as president of the J.B. Hunt’s Integrated Capacity Solutions, Truckload and Highway Services divisions as well as holding positions as chief commercial officer and chief marketing officer.

“J.B. Hunt is recognized as a leader in the transportation industry,” Simpson said. “We’re known for our highly talented and experienced people, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to work alongside the very best. Kirk, Wayne and John are not only great leaders, but they understand the importance of building great leaders, and how that creates stability, opportunities for growth and ultimately drives long-term success for a company.

“They’ve grown a culture of integrity and respect, of innovation, safety and excellence, and I am profoundly grateful for the impact they’ve had and will continue to have on the company.”

Roberts, CEO since 2010, joined the J.B. Hunt in 1989, was president of the Dedicated Contract Services segment from 1997 until he was named CEO.

“Shelley challenges us to be excellent and innovative and always in pursuit of customer value,” Roberts said. “These steps help to ensure the culture and innovative growth mindset that has been so vital to the success of our company remains strong and intact to support the vision and the values of the company for the foreseeable future.”

The company’s board has seen turnover in the past several years with three retirements in 2023 before Thompson’s and Garrison’s. J.B. Hunt appointed former Kansas City Southern Railroad CEO Pat Ottensmeyer to the board in January, former Navistar CEO Persio Lisboa joined in 2023 and Calpine Corp. CEO Thad Hill in 2021.

“I am so happy to know Kirk and Wayne will remain involved as advisors beyond their service as directors, and I am excited to congratulate John and Shelley on their new leadership roles,” said Johnelle Hunt, co-founder of J.B. Hunt. “I care deeply about the long-term success of the company, and these changes give me great confidence in the company’s ability to continue to prosper well into the future.”

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