CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — As part of CRST’s two-year succession plan, CRST International one of the largest privately-held transportation and logistics companies in the United States, said that Dave Rusch, current president and CEO, will retire effective December 31 and will be replaced by Hugh Ekberg, current COO and group president.
Rusch will remain in a full-time advisory capacity to John Smith, chairman of the board for Admiralty Holdings and owner of the CRST International family of companies, until December 31, and will remain on the CRST board of directors going forward.
After being a special agent for the FBI, and 10 years of increasing responsibilities in operations and finance for North American Van Lines, Rusch joined CRST Malone as vice president of operations in 1991. In 1998, he was appointed president and COO of CRST Van Expedited. According to Smith, Rusch turned the expedited operating company into a streamlined, operationally efficient and profitable entity within a short timeframe, earning him additional responsibilities and promotions.
Rusch was named president and CEO of CRST International in 2010, following Smith’s retirement from that role.
“Dave is one of the best operators in the industry and the master of negotiations,” Smith said. “He has acquired five trucking companies, significantly grew our revenue and charted the course for CRST to be debt-free again next year. Dave has brought CRST financial stability and operational excellence. We are most grateful to him for his 27 years of dedicated leadership to CRST, our employees and our customers. He’s an industry veteran who should be proud of his legacy, which includes positioning the company for continued growth and success.”
Smith said over the course of Rusch’s career he has accomplished many milestones, most notably:
- Successfully negotiating and crafting complex agreements to acquire the best transportation providers in niche markets, including Specialized Transportation Inc., the Special Products Division of Allied Van Lines, BESL Transfer Co., Pegasus Transportation Inc. and Gardner Trucking;
- Growing CRST revenues from a $300 million company to a $1.7 billion company;
- Positioning CRST’s future for success with the financial stability and profitability that is revered in the industry.
Ekberg joined CRST International in September 2016 as COO and Group President, bringing over 25 years of strategic business leadership to the CRST family of companies.
“Considering Hugh’s extensive expertise in corporate strategy and strategic growth, leadership and multi-site management, we are thrilled to have an executive of his stature named as CEO,” said Smith. “Hugh’s strengths will complement and enhance CRST’s strong team of operational executives. We look forward to Hugh leading CRST through the next chapter of our company’s growth and success story.”
Hugh Ekberg, right, will replace the retiring Dave Rusch as president and CEO of CRST International.
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