Travel Center Chain Gets New Pilot

PepsiCo president takes on CEO role at Pilot Flying J as Haslam moves up to chairman

John Compton

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- In his first major "play" since buying the Cleveland Browns, James "Jimmy" Haslam III has stepped down as CEO of truckstop and travel center giant Pilot Flying J Inc. and stepped up to the role of chairman, while his father, Jim Haslam, has taken the title of founder and chairman emeritus. The company has named John Compton, president of PepsiCo, as the new CEO.

Pilot Flying J also has announced that Mark Hazelwood had been promoted to president and Ken Parent to executive vice president. Hazelwood, a 27-year veteran of Pilot Flying J, has been the primary architect of the company's national truckstop strategy while Parent has been in charge of day-to-day operations of the company's retail stores.

As reported in a Raymond James/CSP Daily News Flash on Wednesday, Compton has held numerous leadership positions at Frito-Lay, ascending to vice chairman and president of its salty snacks division. He later became CEO of Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade, based in Chicago and in March 2012, was named president of PepsiCo, where he guided PepsiCo's global business units and functions.

"We are tremendously excited to have an individual with John's intelligence, character and financial acumen join our Pilot Flying J team. He will bring tremendous management skills which will enable Pilot Flying J to continue the rapid growth it has enjoyed over the last decade," said Jimmy Haslam.

"I am honored to have been extended the trust of the Haslam family," said Compton. "I have watched Pilot Flying J succeed for many years and have seen first hand their strategic acuity and operational excellence. My wife, Cindy, and our children, Kendall, Caroline and Jack, are thrilled to be coming to Knoxville. And, I am forever grateful to PepsiCo. I have had the great fortune of learning from world-class teams and I look forward to serving the associates and customers of Pilot Flying J."

Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Flying J and its recently acquired Maxum Petroleum have annual sales in excess of $30 billion. The combined companies employ more than 25,000 people and conduct business in 44 states in the United States as well as six provinces in Canada. Pilot Flying J is the largest operator of travel centers and truck stops in North America, with more than 600 retail locations, and Maxum Petroleum is the largest supplier of diesel fuel to drilling rigs and hydraulic fracturing units in the United States.

Meanwhile, PepsiCo Europe CEO Zein Abdalla has been appointed president of Purchase, N.Y.-based PepsiCo Inc., succeeding Compton (see Related Content below for CSP Daily News coverage).

Haslam's $1-billion deal to buy the Cleveland Browns professional football team is expected to close in October.