Pilot Co. will have a new CEO on Jan. 1

July 21, 2020

Greg Grisolano

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Pilot Co.'s Jimmy Haslam and Shameek Konar
Pilot Co. has announced that CEO Jimmy Haslam (left) will become chairman of the board on Jan. 1 and Shameek Konar, chief strategy officer, will become CEO. (Photo courtesy Pilot Co.)

 

The longtime chief executive of the company operating Pilot and Flying J truck stops will transition to a new role next year.

Jimmy Haslam, the son of founder James “Jim” Haslam, will become chairman of the board of Pilot Co. on Jan. 1, according to a press release issued Tuesday.

Shameek Konar, the company’s chief strategy officer, will become CEO at that time. Konar joined Pilot in 2017.

“Since day one with Pilot in 2017, Shameek has shown his dedication to advancing our company and the industry,” Jimmy Haslam said in the release. “Shameek has successfully launched and grown our Pilot Energy business and become a key member of our leadership team. His knowledge of the energy sector, including expertise in the acquisition, development and operations of infrastructure assets and resources, and his deep appreciation of Pilot’s culture and values are a few of the reasons why we chose him to be our next CEO.”

Pilot and Flying J fuel stops also sponsor OOIDA’s Truckers Advantage Fuel Card.

The release states that both Jim Haslam and Jimmy Haslam will remain involved in the business as chairman emeritus and chairman, respectively. Over its 62-year history, Pilot Co. has grown to become the nation’s largest operator of travel centers, with more than 950 locations and is the largest seller of over-the-road diesel.

Other members of the Haslam family will continue to be part of the company’s leadership. Whitney Haslam Johnson, daughter of Jimmy Haslam, will continue as chief experience officer and member of the board, and Jimmy’s brother Bill Haslam, former governor of Tennessee, will serve on the board.

As part of the transition, Konar will immediately take on additional responsibilities, including the management of technology, human resources, finance and legal. The real estate team will continue to report to Jimmy Haslam, and the store operations and development teams will continue to report to Ken Parent, president.

As CEO, store operations and development will be added to Konar’s role in 2021. At that time, Parent will become senior advisor to the CEO and the chairman, providing guidance on strategy and key priorities for the company. The rest of Pilot’s management team will stay in place.

Pilot Co. is ranked No. 10 on Forbes’ list of America’s Largest Private Companies.

During Jimmy Haslam’s tenure as CEO, 19 executives and staffers of the truck stop chain either admitted or were convicted of participating in fraud scheme involving the company’s fuel rebate program following an FBI raid of its Knoxville, Tenn.-headquarters in 2013. Fourteen pleaded guilty, three were convicted, including the company’s former president and CEO Mark Hazelwood. Two others were granted immunity, including former executive Vincent Greco, who turned FBI informant.

The conspiracy involved fraudulent and false pretenses, promises and representations made to the targeted trucking companies, including fraudulently generated invoices and rebate amounts. The indictment alleges the conspiracy involved either or both “off-invoice fraud,” where the represented discount amount was not submitted to Pilot’s billing system for the customer’s invoices, and “rebate fraud,” where customers who received monthly rebate checks had portions of the full rebate amount “deliberately and fraudulently” withheld by various means.

The company entered into an agreement with federal prosecutors to pay $92 million in fines and another $85 million in restitution to more than 5,000 customers.

Defense attorneys for Hazelwood attempted to argue during trial that Jimmy Haslam had knowledge of the scheme. Haslam denied any such knowledge and was not charged in connection with the conspiracy.

Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.