Thursday, February 09, 2017

Sasser Family Holdings elevates Walsh to CEO

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Jeff Walsh Jeff Walsh Sasser Family Holdings

Sasser Family Holdings, Inc., has promoted Jeff Walsh, previously the company’s Chief Operating Officer, to Chief Executive Officer, effective Feb. 15. Walsh will replace Fred Sasser, who is stepping down from a 36-year term as CEO to become Executive Chairman.

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Walsh has more than 20 years of experience in the rail industry. He spent 15 years at GATX Corp. before joining Sasser in 2013. At GATX, Walsh was Group Executive, Structured Finance and, previously, General Manager of Rail Structured Finance, Industrial Equipment Finance and Marine. Before GATX, Walsh spent two years at GE Capital in the Genstar Container and GE Capital Rail Services business units.

As Sasser COO, Walsh managed the restructuring of CF Rail Services and the realignment of Sasser’s information technology department. He was also involved in organizing the management teams for Express 4X4 Truck Rental and Xcēd Aviation Services. The company says Walsh’s priorities as CEO will include “further exploring opportunities to grow the company’s footprint and increasing cross-functional collaboration while building an engaged and socially responsible employee culture.”

“Jeff is an accomplished and knowledgeable industry leader who has helped to drive our U.S. business units to several years of strong growth,” said Sasser Independent Director Toby Luther. “We are confident that Jeff will further lead Sasser and its subsidiaries to steadily improving operational and financial performance.”

Luther added that the transition is considered “particularly significant,” because Walsh is the first non-family member to be named CEO of the company. “The Board is especially grateful to Fred, under whose skillful, visionary leadership Sasser grew its market presence from a regional company to having a transportation and logistics footprint in the US and abroad,” he said. “We are also pleased that Fred will continue as our Executive Chairman.”

Fred Sasser noted that the company was not always as stable as it is currently. “When I took over from my father in 1981, we were headed into a very deep cyclical downturn in the rail business,” hbe said. “It was the biggest downturn since the Depression and remains the biggest we’ve seen. I came into a company that my father left with a strong financial base despite these conditions. At the time, all that we had was Chicago Freight Car Leasing and one repair shop—Hoosier Railcar Company (now CF Rail Services). We looked to expand the business into leasing additional types of transportation and logistics equipment, and into expanding our railcar repair network. In 1998, we became international with the addition of CFCL Australia. Our most recent two pieces were a specialized truck rental business, Express 4X4 Truck Rental, and offering ground support equipment through Xcēd Aviation Services.”

“Jeff lives our culture every day and he brings exceptional industry experience and contacts to his new role,” Sasser said. “He has been pivotal to the continued success of Sasser and to strengthening the commitment of our business units to meeting and anticipating our customers’ needs. Over the course of nearly a year, the board was careful and intentional in deciding who our next CEO should be. I fully participated in the process and am excited that Jeff is our new CEO.”

“I am honored and gratified to have earned the board’s confidence at a company with such a rich history and legacy,” Walsh said. “The opportunity to work alongside one of the great names in the rail industry and the perspective I’ve gained from helping to build the Sasser brand will be invaluable as I work to drive our strategic priorities to best serve our customers and stakeholders now and into the future.”







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