Fort Smith, AR-based LTL carrier ABF Freight System is reorganizing its executive team as the company’s chairman & CEO prepares to shift into a new role.

Robert Young III, currently chairman and CEO of Arkansas Best Corp., ABF’s parent company, plans to become just chairman on Jan. 31 next year, with Robert Davidson stepping up from president & COO to become president & CEO. Young plans to serve as a non-employee chairman as he is ABF’s largest non-institutional shareholder, owning approximately 8.8% of the company’s outstanding stock.

As a result, Davidson is making a range of promotions to get the team of managers he wants in place when he officially becomes president & CEO on Feb. 1, 2006. For starters, Chris Baltz takes over as senior vp-yield management and strategic development. Wes Kemp moves up to senior vp-operations, responsible for terminal and linehaul operations, equipment procurement and maintenance, real estate management and industrial relations, while also leading ABF’s engineering and safety and security initiatives. Roy Slagle becomes senior vp-sales and marketing, while Judy McReynolds moves up to be senior vp & CFO as well as treasurer for Arkansas Best Corp.

Murray Babb is taking over as vp-terminal operations, with Chris Burton moving up to vp-economic analysis, which also entails responsibility for training, quality awareness and e-systems development at ABF. Jim Ingram becomes vp-market development for ABF, with Jim Keenan taking over as vp-administration.

The executive reorganization comes at a time of strong profits for the LTL carrier. ABF reported net income of $40.6 million on revenues of $451.8 million in the third quarter this year, nearly double its net income of $27.4 million on revenues of $427.9 million in the same quarter in 2004.

“ABF generated the highest quarterly operating income in its history and, on a comparable reporting basis, the best quarterly operating ratio in over twenty-five years,” said Young. “The improvement in ABF’s third quarter operating ratio was accomplished because of a combination of good pricing and consistent cost controls as total revenue per hundredweight, excluding fuel surcharge, increased by over 1%.”