XPO brought on a Wall Street veteran as chief strategy officer this week to help guide the LTL carrier through a tumultuous economy.
The company hired automotive analyst Ali Faghri, effective immediately, it announced Tuesday. Matt Fassler served in the role previously for about four years.
Faghri, most recently managing director at Guggenheim Partners, has specialized in the auto sector for a dozen years, covering Tesla, CarMax, AutoZone and Uber.
“Ali is a seasoned analyst with a thorough understanding of our customer verticals and company-specific strengths,” XPO CEO Mario Harik said in a statement. “His expertise will add considerable value as we execute our growth strategy.”
Faghri’s Wall Street experience is likely a welcome addition to XPO’s C-suite. Founder Brad Jacobs, who formerly set the company’s shareholder value growth strategy, handed the reins to former CIO Harik last fall as Jacobs eyes his next venture.
But the announcement left questions unanswered for LTL industry expert Satish Jindel, who once served as chief strategy officer of RPS, now FedEx Ground. Jindel wondered whether hiring an auto analyst as chief strategy officer indicates plans to further explore the auto vertical, which he said currently represents about 15% of the LTL market.
“The press release doesn't provide me enough details on how his prior experience will parlay into helping [XPO] with their strategic direction, other than that his many years of experience in the automotive sector would be relevant, if they are looking at a greater effort in penetrating the auto verticals segment of the LTL market,” he said.
Charting the growth of the company is a chief strategy officer’s most important role, Jindel said.
“He really needs to understand the LTL industry and how LTL industry fits as one of the pieces of the puzzle in the product transportation space,” Jindel said. “He may have all those skills. But the press release, in my mind, doesn't convey that.”
In response to Jindel’s comments, Harik touted Faghri's "wealth of experience and deep relationships with the investor community."
"He will help us execute on our growth strategy and communicate our vision in the most impactful way,” the CEO said in a statement to Transport Dive.