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USA Truck CEO John Simone Treated for Lung Cancer

3 min read

USA Truck Inc. CEO John Simone said Thursday that he is being treated for lung cancer, and that while he and his doctors are optimistic, he’s not sure yet when he’ll return to the Van Buren trucking company.

The company announced April 6 that Simone would take a leave of absence because of a “serious medical condition.” Citing privacy, the company did not reveal Simone’s diagnosis or say when it expected him to return.

But in a letter addressed to colleagues and shareholders and shared by the company Thursday, Simone said he has been undergoing chemotherapy, and doctors plan radiation treatments in the future.

“The treatments are expected to continue for several more weeks,” Simone said. “It is too early to have complete visibility on timeframe for completing treatments or a definitive prognosis, but my doctors and I are optimistic.”

Simone said that in March he experienced cerebral vascular accidents, or strokes, which affected his speech. Doctors discovered the lung cancer while searching for the cause of the strokes. Simone said his lung cancer is rare; he is not a smoker. 

“Several weeks into the treatments, I am feeling much better. My strength is returning, my speech is improving, and I am looking forward to returning to active involvement in the business,” he wrote. “My doctors have not finalized their recommendations on my ability to travel or return to USA Truck in a full time capacity. I intend to return as soon as medically advisable, and I am hoping that will be sometime this summer.”

Simone was hired at USA Truck in 2013 to replace Cliff Beckham, who returned to his previous role of CFO before resigning in September 2014. USA Truck reported income of $6 million in 2014, its first profitable year since 2008. 

USA Truck named Thomas Glaser, a member of the company’s board of directors, as interim COO during Simone’s medical leave. The company reported net income of $1.1 for the first quarter of 2015. He held its annual sharholders meeting Thursday morning.

John Simone’s Letter

Dear Colleagues and Fellow Stockholders:

I wanted to update you personally on the status of my medical leave and the timing of my expected return.  Although my communication with you has been limited for several weeks, please know that USA Truck, and all of you, have been in my thoughts as I have concentrated on my treatments and recovery.

During March, I experienced cerebral vascular accidents (CVAs), or strokes, which primarily affected my speech (much improved since then).  My doctors have not identified any other lasting effects, and they expect me to make a full recovery from the CVAs.  

While looking for the cause of the CVAs, they discovered lung cancer, which is very rare in non-smokers. I have been undergoing chemotherapy, and radiation treatments are planned in the future. The treatments are expected to continue for several more weeks. It is too early to have complete visibility on timeframe for completing treatments or a definitive prognosis, but my doctors and I are optimistic.

Needless to say, this dual challenge multiplied the number of tests, appointments, and treatments to the point a medical leave became necessary.  The warm wishes and messages from many of you were much appreciated and are helping keep up my spirits along the way.

Several weeks into the treatments, I am feeling much better.  My strength is returning, my speech is improving, and I am looking forward to returning to active involvement in the business.  My doctors have not finalized their recommendations on my ability to travel or return to USA Truck in a full time capacity.  I intend to return as soon as medically advisable, and I am hoping that will be sometime this summer.

I would like to thank my colleagues at USA Truck for their support of me, but even more for their continued efforts on behalf of the company.  The depth and breadth of our team has never been greater, and this has been clearly displayed over these past several weeks.  I am grateful and humbled, but not surprised, by their dedication and performance.

Sincerely,

John M. Simone

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