J.B. Hunt CEO John Roberts earns nearly 3% raise in 2021, total compensation up 13% in 2020

by Jeff Della Rosa ([email protected]) 2,029 views 

John Roberts, president and CEO of Lowell-based carrier J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc., received a 2.7% raise in 2021, with his base salary increasing to $940,000, from $915,000 in 2020, according to the company’s proxy statement. Roberts’ total compensation rose 13.1% to $7.45 million in 2020, from $6.58 million in 2019.

J.B. Hunt released Thursday (March 18) the proxy statement showing executive pay increases and that it will host its annual shareholders meeting at 10 a.m. April 22 at its headquarters. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, shareholders can register to listen to the meeting via phone call.

John Kuhlow, who became chief financial officer on Dec. 1, received an 80.2% raise in 2021, with his base salary rising to $400,000, from $222,000 in 2020. Kuhlow’s total compensation was $1.37 million in 2020. David Mee, who retired as chief financial officer on April 1, had received a 2.9% raise in 2020, with his salary rising to $540,000, from $525,000 in 2019. Mee’s total compensation rose 199.5% to $7.58 million in 2020, from $2.53 million in 2019.

Shelley Simpson, chief commercial officer and executive vice president of people and human resources, received an 11.1% raise in 2021, with her salary rising to $600,000, from $540,000 in 2020. Simpson’s total compensation increased 31.8% to $3.34 million in 2020, from $2.54 million in 2019.

Nick Hobbs, chief operating officer and president of contract services, received an 11.1% raise in 2021, with his salary rising to $600,000, from $540,000 in 2020. Hobbs’ total compensation rose 31.8% to $3.34 million in 2020, from $2.53 million in 2019.

Darren Field, who became president of intermodal on April 1, received a 12.5% raise in 2021, with his salary increasing to $450,000, from $400,000 in 2020. Field’s total compensation was $2.52 million in 2020. Terrence Matthews was president of intermodal and retired on July 16. His salary was flat at $525,000 in 2020, from 2019. Matthews’ total compensation rose 3.7% to $3.13 million in 2020, from $3.01 million in 2019.

Shareholders of record as of Feb. 16 can vote on the election of directors for a one-year term, the appointment of Ernst & Young LLP as the company’s independent registered public accounting firm for 2021 and an advisory resolution on the company’s compensation of its executive officers.

The following directors are seeking reelection: Douglas Duncan, Francesca Edwardson, Wayne Garrison, Sharilyn Gasaway, Gary George, Bryan Hunt, Gale King, Roberts, James Robo and chairman Kirk Thompson. Coleman Peterson retired from the board on April 23.

Thad Hill, 53, is a new candidate seeking election to the board. Hill is president and CEO of electric power company Calpine Corp. and has led the company since 2014. He was formerly president and chief operating officer for the company, which operates power plants and retail businesses in 24 states and Ontario, Canada. Before he joined Calpine, he was executive vice president of NRG Energy and president of NRG Texas, where he was responsible for NRG’s largest regional business. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Amos Tuck School of Dartmouth College.

Terms expire in 2022.

Executive officers and directors own a combined 3.3% of the company’s stock, or 2.32 million shares directly and 1.15 million shares indirectly. Only Garrison owns more than 1% of shares. He owns 1.3% or 1.3 million shares directly and 35,385 shares indirectly.

The following shareholders owned more than 5% of company shares: Johnelle Hunt, philanthropist and co-founder of J.B. Hunt, of Rogers owned 17.3%, or 18.32 million, of the shares. Vanguard Group Inc. of Malvern, Pa., owned 9.3%, or 9.85 million, of the shares. T. Rowe Price Associates Inc. of Baltimore owned 8.9%, or 9.5 million, of the shares. BlackRock Inc. of New York owned 6%, or 6.28 million, of the shares.

Shares of J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT) closed Thursday at $162.09, up $2.19, or 1.37%, after rising to a 52-week high of $164.46. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has ranged between $164.46 and $77.77.

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