One of United Parcel Service’s (UPS) top executives has announced his departure, just as the parcel delivery firm released strong third quarter results.
Chief Operating Officer Jim Barber, who was believed to the company’s next leader, said that he plans to retire at the end of the year. Barber is in charge of the UPS global small package, freight, supply chain, freight forwarding and engineering. He also played a crucial role in the company’s turnaround.
“We deeply appreciate Jim’s many contributions to UPS,” David Abney, UPS chairman and CEO, said in a press release. “He guided our International teams to strong growth and performance for successive years, even when market conditions were challenging. More recently he built a strong team and helped them implement plans for improved performance in our Domestic and Supply Chain segments, as shown in our operating results.”
Once news of Barber’s retirement spread, shares in UPS fell 3 percent to $115.03. “Investors assumed he was going to be the next CEO and this caught us by surprise. Unfortunately, the market does not like surprises,” Seaport Global analyst Kevin Sterling said, according to Reuters.
The announcement comes just a few months after Chief Financial Officer Richard Peretz revealed his own plans to retire.
“We have a strong bench. Succession planning is something we constantly focus on,” Abney said on a conference call with analysts. The company added that Barber and Peretz will stay at UPS through the busy holiday shopping and shipping season.
Barber’s retirement plans overshadowed a strong third quarter report from the company. Profit was up 16 percent to $1.75 billion, with UPS earning $2.07 per share to top analysts’ average forecast.
“Our results reflect significant progress from our transformation initiatives, and our ability to generate growth and deliver increased efficiencies in a dynamic economic environment,” said Abney. “As we recently announced, we continue to forge new partnerships and create innovative solutions to accelerate growth in the most attractive opportunities.”