USA Truck, Inc. announced today that John Simone has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer and has joined the company’s Board of Directors.

Former CEO Cliff Beckham has returned to his previous role as the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, which he previously held from 2002 to 2007.

Both changes are effective immediately.

Simone has over 30 years of operational and management experience in the transportation industry with leading companies that include UPS, Ryder, and Greatwide Logistics. Most recently, he was the CEO of LinkAmerica where he led a successful operational turnaround.

USA Truck has struggled with major losses in recent years, including a $17.5 million loss in 2012.

“USA Truck has a strong foundation to build upon, including a relatively new fleet, dedicated employees, modern technology, and significant balance sheet strength and liquidity,” said Simone. “I was attracted to the situation because of these resources and because of the strong commitment to teamwork I sensed from the Board of Directors and the executive team. Our team will be dedicated to achieving operational excellence in our execution with the goals of superior customer service, efficiency in all functions, and full support for our drivers. We expect improved operational execution and enhanced financial management to generate value for stockholders, employees, and other stakeholders.”

USA Truck board chairman Robert Peiser and former CEO Beckham both commented in the company’s press release announcing the changes.

“We have been taking many steps toward improving USA Truck’s operating and financial performance,” said Peiser. “Hiring John Simone as our new CEO is an important next step that we expect to accelerate the process. He has deep experience in trucking operations and is a proven leader of people in all functional areas and at all levels. We are excited that he shares our belief in the future of the company and will be dedicated to building on our momentum.

“We are also very excited that Cliff Beckham has agreed to return to the CFO position. Cliff’s deep-seated commitment to the company and his proven financial expertise in this position made this reorganization a natural decision that we all believe is in the very best interests of the company and its stockholders. I look forward to working with John, Cliff, the rest of the management team and our board in restoring USA Truck to the levels of profitability it has achieved in the past.”

Beckham said, “I welcome John to the CEO role at USA Truck. We have terrific people and a great opportunity in the truckload market. We have been searching for someone with the right mix of operations, marketing, and leadership skills to take the company to the next level of performance. I am excited to return to my historical role as CFO and provide strong financial, cost-control, and management support to John and the rest of the team. We are unified in our commitment to restoring USA Truck to industry-leading performance.”

USA Truck shares (NASDAQ: USAK) opened trading at $4.75 on Monday.

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Stephanie Baker

Stephanie Baker

Stephanie Baker is the Vice-president of Operations for Talk Business & Politics. She can be reached by email at Stephanie@TalkBusiness.net.