XPO Logistics CFO Carl Anderson on the shipping giant’s road ahead

The highway forward for XPO is an tour the trucking firm is simply starting to journey.

On the primary day of November 2022, XPO accomplished its spinoff of RXO, creating two unbiased, publicly traded corporations. XPO is a supplier of less-than-truckload transportation—i.e., delivery freight for purchasers that don’t have sufficient quantity to fill an entire truck. RXO, in the meantime, is the fourth largest U.S. truckload dealer.

Precisely one week later, Carl Anderson joined XPO as chief monetary officer.

“What will get me excited and will get me going is being part of an organization the place there’s a whole lot of alternative to take it to an entire totally different stage,” Anderson tells Fortune. He sees solely alternative forward, saying there was a valuation hole between XPO and its friends. As CFO, he’s working to enhance profitability and higher place the corporate within the eyes of the market.

Carl Anderson, chief monetary officer of XPO Logistics

Courtesy of XPO Logistics

Anderson credit his decades-long curiosity in finance to 2 occasions. The inventory market crash of 1987 and a cash and banking class he took whereas enrolled at Michigan State College. His profession has united his love of capital markets with the transportation {industry}. “Residing within the Detroit space, you naturally gravitate to the auto {industry},” says Anderson.

After incomes his bachelor’s diploma in economics, he served as a senior monetary analyst with First Chicago Corp. He spent a decade with Basic Motors Acceptance Corp., the capital finance arm of the auto big. On the time, it had been combating financing points and misplaced its funding grade ranking. Anderson helped clear up these points and later joined Meritor, the place he labored for over 16 years in a number of senior management positions, together with chief monetary officer. Final 12 months, he steered the $3.7 billion sale of Meritor—a provider of axles, brakes, and extra for business automobile producers and protection contractors—to Cummins.

Anderson says transportation is alluring due to how vital it’s to the economic system. And since 70% of freight is moved by vans, he sees nice attract in that subsegment of the {industry}. First on the provider facet with Meritor, and now in trucking with XPO. 

XPO is newly lean, after a few years of an acquisition streak that included multibillion-dollar offers for Con-way and Norbert Dentressangle. However put up spinoff, Anderson says XPO may have the chance to be extra nimble and agile, with a narrower concentrate on strategic selections.

“There was at all times a bit little bit of a conglomerate low cost with the valuation of the corporate,” says Anderson. A by-product will enable “every of the person corporations to be evaluated for valuation functions by itself, relative to their particular peer group.”

Earlier this 12 months, Anderson steered XPO by means of his first earnings report since becoming a member of the corporate. Income for the quarter grew to $1.83 billion versus $1.77 billion the prior 12 months, boosted by a 1.4% enhance in yield for the North American less-than-truckload unit, with tonnage up by 0.9%. Anderson says the outcomes are robust when put next with the destructive tendencies within the {industry}. XPO, he says, is investing in capability forward of when demand picks up, permitting it to be higher positioned to seize worthwhile market share.

When requested about how he seems on the route XPO should navigate sooner or later, Anderson factors to long-term 2027 targets the corporate first unveiled in October, together with a income compound annual development fee of 6% to eight% and an adjusted working ratio enchancment of at the very least 600 foundation factors. Each targets cowl the interval from 2021 by means of 2027. 

“We’re not reliant essentially on a whole lot of outdoors components,” says Anderson. “We’re reliant on ourselves, which is much more thrilling, as a result of if we will execute—which I do know we’ll—we’ve a fairly vibrant future forward of us.”

Wall Avenue may have a bit extra convincing. The corporate’s inventory dropped 14% on the day of the most recent earnings report, and analysts at Wells Fargo and Jefferies had been amongst these to chop their rankings on the inventory. Wells Fargo says it’s possible a “transition 12 months” for XPO.

XPO made a case for optimism when addressing {industry} analysts. “In North America, we drove above-industry tonnage development in [less-than-truckload] in This fall, and we ended the 12 months with over $1 billion of adjusted Ebitda, making good on the targets we set 5 years earlier,” stated CEO Mario Harik throughout a convention name. “We noticed a powerful demand from our clients, particularly a whole lot of the brand new clients we onboarded by means of the course of 2022.”

XPO is without doubt one of the largest suppliers of asset-based, less-than-truckload transportation in North America.

Courtesy of XPO Logistics

As Anderson settled into his new CFO function at XPO, his method has been to spend so much of time along with his group and set clear aims. He goals to stretch the group a bit additional when it comes to the targets they work towards, that are additionally aligned with what XPO is making an attempt to attain. Anderson says that every group, and even every particular person on the group, ought to have targets that match into the place the corporate goes.

He additionally touts worker empowerment, encouraging group members to make selections. “If individuals can see, day in and day trip, that no matter they’re doing is having an affect on the corporate, it creates power and a whole lot of enthusiasm,” says Anderson.

And as for what he drives towards personally? “Having the ability to companion with the enterprise, to have the ability to develop the corporate very, very profitably, and supply a strategic course to the corporate, which is useful not solely to shareholders, however useful to all the workers,” says Anderson.

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