C.H. Robinson Worldwide, the Eden Prairie-based freight and cargo logistics provider, has confirmed that Bob Biesterfeld, the CEO and president, has stepped down effective Dec. 31. He also resigned from the company’s board.
C.H. Robinson offered no explanation for the transition in its Tuesday public announcement on the leadership change.
Biesterfeld’s departure was described as “abrupt” by several media outlets, including the Star Tribune.
FreightWaves added that it had been in the works for months.
According to a Tuesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Biesterfeld’s departure from the company was an involuntary termination without cause.
Scott Anderson, the company’s board chairman since 2020, has been named interim CEO, effective Jan. 1.
The company has begun a search for a permanent CEO, retaining Russell Reynolds, a national executive search firm, to assist in the process. Anderson has indicated that he will not be a candidate for the permanent role.
With Anderson serving as interim CEO, Jodee Kozlak will replace him as a board chair. Kozlak joined C.H. Robinson as a director in 2013. She is the founder and CEO of Kozlak Capital Partners, LLC, a private consulting firm.
Biesterfeld had been with the company since 1999, serving as CEO since May 2019.
News of Biesterfeld’s departure comes less than two months after reporting weaker-than-expected third-quarter results and announcing plans to lay off 650 employees. At the time of the announcement, the company employed nearly 17,000 people.
In the company’s Tuesday media release, Biesterfeld stated that it was an honor to lead C.H. Robinson and its exceptional team, and that he was proud of all they had achieved together.
“I am confident that C.H. Robinson’s industry leading people and culture will continue to ensure that the company is well-positioned for the future,” Biesterfeld said.
Anderson expressed gratitude on behalf of the board to Biesterfeld for his significant contributions over his time with C.H. Robinson.
“Since joining Robinson in 1999, Bob has played an important role in positioning C.H. Robinson for long-term success, most recently leading the company through a challenging period, which included COVID-19 and dealing with supply chain disruptions,” he stated in the media release. “We wish him all the best.”
Anderson said that he is honored to take on the role of interim CEO and will do everything he can to make the transition as smooth as possible.
He was appointed to the C.H. Robinson board in January 2012 and has been board chairman since 2020. Before this, he served as president and chief executive officer of Patterson Companies from 2010 to 2017 and was later elected as board chairman of Patterson in April 2013.
“Now is the right time for C.H. Robinson to accelerate our strategic initiatives and the board is focused on identifying a CEO successor who can execute on the opportunities ahead for Robinson,” Anderson said. “I look forward to working closely with our talented employees to continue to improve our customer and carrier experience, and scale our digital processes to foster sustainable growth.”
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