SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. (NASDAQ: EXPD), today announced that Rommel C. Saber, President of the Company’s Europe, Africa, Near/Middle East, and Indian Subcontinent region, has informed the Company of his intention to retire at the end of the first quarter of 2015 after what will be, at that time, 25 years of service as an Executive Officer.
Mr. Saber, a U.S. citizen and native of Beirut, Lebanon and a 40-year veteran of the global logistics industry, has served Expeditors in positions of increasing responsibility since 1990 when he joined the corporate office in Seattle as Director-Near/Middle East. At the time, he was tasked with the express mission of developing the Near/Middle East markets, including the Indian subcontinent, where, at the time, Expeditors had no presence or service capabilities. Among Rommel’s legendary whirling dervish approach to Middle East expansion was one six-week trip in 1990 where he appointed 17 agents (and lost 25 pounds) setting up Expeditors’ Middle East Agent network. Saber was promoted to Senior Vice President-Sales and Marketing in January 1993 and subsequently to position of Senior Vice President-Air Export. While establishing these two key functions, Saber was doing double-duty, retaining the responsibility of establishing and managing the Company’s new office and agency relationships in the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. By 1997, under Rommel’s leadership, the Company had opened offices in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Dubai, Kuwait, Turkey, Greece and Lebanon. The demands of being a global product leader based in the Seattle Corporate Office and managing a thriving string of offices in the Company’s most diverse geographic required Rommel to relocate to the Middle East. He was promoted to Senior Vice President Near/Middle East and relocated to Lebanon in June of 1997, opening and staffing the Beirut Regional Office to serve the growing needs of his new region. In 2000, Rommel was promoted to Executive Vice President-Europe, Africa and Near/Middle East, where he began splitting his time between London and Beirut, as he took on the added responsibilities of Europe and Africa. He was elected President, Europe, Africa, Near/Middle East and Indian Subcontinent in 2006.
“Rommel’s accomplishments and contributions at Expeditors are legendary. He’s been a true pioneer for helping us establish new frontiers every step of his career, starting with his initial position of opening up the Middle East and India for us. From there he established the first real corporate sales program we had at Expeditors after which he went on to be the first global Senior Vice President and Director of Air Cargo. There is not one other person at Expeditors who has spearheaded as many executive officer level positions, and worn as many hats, on some occasions two at a time, as Rommel. With the exception of James and Peter, no one at Expeditors has opened more offices, and no one has managed a wider, and more diverse global footprint than Rommel,” said Jeffrey S. Musser, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Rommel opened up a part of the world to Expeditors that very few people understand and even fewer understand how to successfully operate in those markets. He’s led us well in those regions, and given our network balance that it truly needed, particularly being responsible for opening India for us. He’s led our most diverse and difficult regions, navigating the Company through disparate countries, cultures, languages and workplace environments. Rommel has had the truly unique experiences of having kept our operations running, and more importantly, kept our people safe literally during the shelling and aerial bombardments of war, the uprisings of the Arab Spring in multiple countries and the riots and upheaval associated with the Greek debt crises. We shouldn’t leave out his outstanding leadership in profitably navigating our European offices through the long-standing European recession. There was never any assignment too big or crises too difficult for Rommel to handle. That we are going to miss Rommel goes without saying, but beyond our reliance on his obvious business accomplishments and acumen, we’re probably going to miss Rommel the person, our friend and colleague most of all. Rommel’s warm personal touch has always added so much stability and cohesiveness to our Senior Management team. While he’s not gone yet, we already know that we won’t be able to replace Rommel. There is no single person, inside or outside the Company, who can match Rommel's many accomplishments. Once we’ve worked with Rommel to identify his successors, we look forward to his continued involvement as he moves into a transition and advisory role during the remainder of his time with us. He’ll always be part of our Executive team, even when he finally retires in 2015. Thanks Rommel for all you’ve done and for your continued support,” Musser concluded.
“I’ve had great time during my career at Expeditors. There have been great challenges, but there has also been a tremendous amount of fun from the day I started. The people I’ve worked with and the friends I’ve made at Expeditors are deep and lasting. There are so many people who I’ve been instrumental in hiring, mentoring and providing opportunities to and to see them grow and succeed over the years has been the most rewarding part of my career. I also feel particularly blessed, at my relatively young age, to have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of my 25-year career at Expeditors with those whom I love most, my family. I have a great family. I have a beautiful, supportive and very cosmopolitan wife, who has given me two fantastic and equally beautiful and cosmopolitan daughters. I couldn’t have accomplished all I’ve been able to do, particularly over the last 16 years without their love and support. I’m keenly aware of the sacrifices they’ve willingly made to help me in my career and I am really looking forward to having the additional time to spend with them particularly while my daughters still have so many years left at home,” Saber said. “During the remainder of my career at Expeditors, I look forward to working with Jeff and those who work with him, to insure my successors are well supported in their transition. It’s a unique and diverse region and I’m committed to see that our people and our customers are not affected by this leadership change. I’m grateful to have nearly a year to help us manage this process. Thanks to all of you who’ve been such a part of my 25-year career at Expeditors,” Rommel concluded.
Expeditors is a global logistics company headquartered in Seattle, Washington. The company employs trained professionals in 185 full-service offices and numerous satellite locations located on six continents linked into a seamless worldwide network through an integrated information management system. Services include the consolidation or forwarding of air and ocean freight, customs brokerage, vendor consolidation, cargo insurance, time-definite transportation, order management, warehousing distribution and customized logistics solutions.