KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The CEO of Pilot Company, the nation’s largest fuel retailer, announced Tuesday that he will transition to chairman of the board at the beginning of next year and chief strategy officer Shameek Konar will take the lead role at the company.
Konar will be the fourth CEO at the Tennessee-based company that operates 950 retail and fuel locations across North America, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. Pilot is the 10th largest private company in the U.S., according to Forbes, with 26,000 employees and revenue of about $29 billion per year.
Pilot CEO Jimmy Haslam told the newspaper that it's the right time for a change as both he and President Ken Parent, who will switch to an advisor role, are in their 60s and have “a lot of miles on us.” Haslam and his wife, Dee Haslam, own the NFL's Cleveland Browns.
The transition will take place over the rest of 2020, with leadership roles shifting on Jan. 1.
Jimmy Haslam's father, Pilot founder Jim Haslam, will move from chairman to chairman emeritus. The rest of Pilot’s leadership team will remain in place.
The changes come about two years after former company president Mark Hazelwood and five others were convicted of various charges in a plot to cheat trucking companies out of millions of dollars. The Haslams weren't charged with wrongdoing.
Both Haslams will remain active in the company and on the board. Other family members will be involved as well including former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Whitney Haslam Johnson.
Konar, 50, has been at Pilot since 2017 and said he plans to continue with a growth mindset.
“As markets change, and as opportunities change, we have to change, right? If you don’t innovate, you die,” Konar told the newspaper. “Pilot’s had a long history of innovating as markets changed and looking for the opportunity.”
Konar has more than 20 years of experience in the energy and commodity market, specializing in acquisition and operations of energy assets.
“Shameek possesses, I think, everything we look for or anybody would look for in a leader,” Jimmy Haslam said. “He’s very smart, great work ethic, a very humble man, and I think understands people very well. When you take those four skills and marry it up with somebody who has great commercial acumen, we think we have an outstanding future CEO.”