Lifetime of Achievement: David Bozeman

David Bozeman
New CH Robinson CEO David Bozeman Faces a Stern Challenge, as the Company Seeks an Uplift Following a Spell of Falling Profits and Lay-offs

David Bozeman became the ninth black CEO on the Fortune 500 when he joined US-based logistics giant CH Robinson in June 2023.

Bozeman has a huge job. The company – founded in 1905 – is one of the world’s largest third-party logistics services providers. It has around 100K customers across 150 countries, and its revenue for 2022 was US$24.7bn. Every year it handles an estimated US$30bn in freight under-management and roughly 20 million shipments. Among the services it provides are freight transportation and logistics and outsourcing solutions.

He faces a stiff test in other senses too, because CH Robinson is in need of a turnaround plan, having failed to fully capitalise on the huge upcycle in freight in 2020 and 2021.

Previous CEO Bob Biesterfeld admitted that Robinson had over-hired during the freight bubble of the early 2020s, and was caught with too many employees and too few loads to move.  There followed two rounds of layoffs.

Analysts also pointed out that, under Biesterfeld, the company invested massively in technology, but returned results that weren’t commensurate with this.

There is also pressure from investor Ancora Holdings Group to sell off the international freight forwarding arm of the business, which provides multimodal services. 

Bozeman joined CH Robinson following an 11-month stint with Ford Motors, where he was VP Customer Services Division & Enthusiast Brands.

Prior to that he spent five years with Amazon, as VP Amazon Transportation Services, and eight years with Caterpillar, where he rose to Senior VP.

In all, Bozeman has 30 years’ experience at industry-leading companies across supply chain, transportation and manufacturing services. Upon joining CH Robinosn, he said his aim is “to help the company build the next chapter of growth”. He added that he also hopes to “bring digital and customer service experience to my new role as CEO”.

At Ford Bozeman was responsible for service parts logistics, and in his short time there said he “helped develop forward-thinking teams while simultaneously considering long-term direction”.

Bozeman holds an MS in Engineering Management from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and a BSc in Manufacturing Design from Bradley University.

He says he has a track record of “being able to reinvent complex operating models and make an impact industry-wide”, skills he will marry to his proven expertise in global supply chain and logistics management.

Sustainability will be another test; CH Robinson recently announced it had reached its GHG emissions goal two years early, exceeding its goal to cut emissions by 40% against a 2018 baseline by 2025.

“In my role, I will work alongside the company’s management team to accelerate the next phase of sustained growth,” says Bozeman. 

He will doubtless seek to capitalise on the company’s standing as a leading logistics provider in a quickly evolving and complex supply chain environment.


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