XPO hired its second Old Dominion Freight Line alumnus in as many months, bringing decades of experience to its board and, now, its operations.
David Bates, a 27-year veteran of Old Dominion who most recently served as senior vice president of operations, will be XPO’s next COO, effective Friday, according to an announcement.
Bates, who began his career at Carolina Freight Carriers and Roadway Express, had been working in operations roles at Old Dominion since 1995.
At Old Dominion, employees “understand that productivity is important, on-time service is important [and] treating the customers’ freight like it’s gold is also important,” Bates said in “Helping The World Keep Promises,” a corporate history.
XPO will rely on Bates to help it maintain the pricing discipline Old Dominion held during challenging freight environments like the 2008-2009 recession.
“We maintained our discipline that we’ve had for many years, and that is: ‘We’re going to give you a good service product, and we’re going to expect a fair price in return,’” Bates said in the corporate history. “We [made] out the best out of everyone coming out of that recessionary period.”
While some customers did leave Old Dominion when their rates didn’t drop, they eventually came back in recognition of the carrier’s service offering, Bates said in the book.
“[When] the economy turned around again, our customers were willing to come back to us because they knew that they were going to still get that service product with us,” Bates said.
Joining XPO excites Bates because of the “sheer size of the potential that exists in XPO’s LTL operations,” he said in a statement.
“As COO, I’ll be taking a strong network to the next level, with a great team of 23,000 talented employees in North America,” Bates said. "We’ll deliver that value together.”
XPO is a far different company than the one its former COO, Ken Wagers, a high-profile hire from Amazon, left in 2019. The logistics giant has spun off all but its European business in a push to compete as a pure-play LTL.
Bates is a high-impact executive who will bring a strong track record of driving excellence in LTL operations, XPO CEO Mario Harik said in a statement.
“We’re delighted that he’ll be leading our operations in creating ongoing value for our customers and investors,” Harik said.
XPO named J. Wes Frye, a longtime Old Dominion finance executive, to its board of directors last month.