Haslam Back in Captain's Seat at Pilot Flying J

Returning to "first love" to resume role as CEO after purchasing Cleveland Browns

Jimmy Haslam

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Pilot Flying J has announced that Jimmy Haslam will reassume his former role as CEO of travel center chain Pilot Flying J.

As reported in a Raymond James/CSP Daily News Flash on Monday, John Compton--the former PepsiCo executive that Pilot Flying J hired in September to take over for Haslam when he bought the Cleveland Browns football team--will assume a new role as strategic advisor to Pilot Flying J, the Browns and the Haslam family.

"We have had the good fortune of working with John over the past five months at Pilot Flying J," Haslam said. "During this same period, we have completed the acquisition of the Cleveland Browns and Pilot Logistic Services (formerly Maxum Petroleum). We have made meaningful changes in both of these organizations, hiring Joe Banner as CEO of the Browns and promoting David Hughes to president of Pilot Logistic Services.

"We think it makes sense to leverage John's skills across not only Pilot Flying J, but also the other businesses in which our family operates. Accordingly, we have asked John to become a strategic advisor across all of our core businesses. John brings an excellent skill set in marketing, operating excellence and strategic thinking. These are skills that would benefit all of our businesses, not just Pilot Flying J."

He added, "Given John's broader role across our companies, I am very excited to reassume the CEO role of Pilot Flying J, and look forward to working alongside our 25,000 team members in continuing to take great care of our customers, employees and shareholders."

Compton said, "I am thrilled to work with Jimmy on the strategic opportunities facing our companies. I have greatly enjoyed working directly with the Pilot Flying J teams and look forward to assisting the Cleveland Browns as well. My family and I are proud to call Knoxville our home and we look forward to a long-term relationship with Jimmy and the Haslam family."

The change at Pilot Flying J was "not about John," Haslam told the Knoxville News Sentinel. "It's more about Jimmy having a change of heart in terms of what he wanted to do. … This is about me realizing my first love is running Pilot Flying J and wanting to return to that job."

Asked about the likelihood that some people will see the move as a demotion for Compton, Haslam said, "People will read into it what they want to."

He said the key point is that the Haslam family has been involved with Pilot for more than 55 years and that when he stepped away he realized how much he missed running the business.

"I realize people will look at it in different ways, but that's the reality," Haslam told the newspaper. "John and I have had really positive conversations, and I think we both feel good about the positions that we're both returning to or going to."

Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Pilot Flying J has more than 650 retail locations and is the largest operator of travel centers and travel plazas in North America. The Pilot Flying J network provides customers with access to more than 60,000 parking spaces for trucks, more than 4,400 showers and more than 4,000 diesel lanes, of which more than 2,800 offer diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at the pump. Pilot Logistics Services is one of the largest independent energy logistics companies in North America, selling and distributing more than 1.3 billion gallons of refined petroleum products and serving more than 15,000 customers. Together, Pilot Flying J and Pilot Logistics Services generate sales of approximately nine billion gallons of petroleum annually.