Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A Change in the Requisition Mindset

After years of not bothering to ask for funds for anything but the basics, YRC managers had to start thinking differently

This is the third in a series of six articles about the volatile financial misfortunes and turnaround of trucking company YRC Worldwide.

Mark Boehmer was in job-hunting mode. He’d been treasurer for 10 years at Sealy, the mattress company, when he began looking for a new opportunity. Before long, some offers materialized. One was for a fairly traditional treasurer position. Another was for a company where he’d wear a lot more hats, even though it was three times Sealy’s size. The kicker was that the second company, trucker YRC Worldwide, had been in a heap of financial trouble for years.

He was leaning toward the first offer when his wife voiced an opinion. “You should take this other job,” she said. “The passion in your voice is so much greater when you’re talking about it.” She was right, Boehmer decided, and he joined YRC as treasurer in mid-2013.

If Boehmer was looking for excitement, he surely found it. He came to YRC when it was negotiating with its lenders to restructure its credit agreements, so as to take the edge off of its then-ruinous interest costs. “You can restructure this debt,” the bankers told YRC, “if you get an extension of your union contract.” That was a reference to its deal with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, 26,000 of whose members worked for YRC. The contract still had more than a year to run, but the company had no time to waste, as $395 million in principal repayments were due in 2014, including $69 million in February, and YRC didn’t have the cash to cover them.

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