Flexport withdraws 75 job offers after sudden Clark exit

Flexport is rescinding job offers for more than 75 people after they were offered positions during a hiring freeze just a day after chief executive Dave Clark suddenly left the firm.

The company’s returning chief executive, Ryan Petersen, said in a social media post that the company was “rescinding a bunch of signed offer letters for people who were starting as soon as this Monday”.

Flexport founder and executive chairman Petersen returned to lead the company following the announcement that chief executive Dave Clark was leaving after a year at the company.

“I am deeply sorry to those people who were expecting to join our company and won’t be able to at this time,” he wrote. “It’s messed up. But no way around it, we have had a hiring freeze for months I have no ideas why more than 75 people were signed to join.”

Petersen said he also had no idea why the company had more than 200 open roles on its website.

“All of those have been canceled except for a handful of roles directly tied to our most important initiatives, eg improving timeliness of our freight services,” he said.

Petersen said that each person would be contacted to explain the move.

“I hope you will forgive us someday and even consider coming to work here again once we get our house in order. But now would not be a good time to add more people and expenses to the company.”

The development comes just a day after high-profile hire Clark, who spent two decades overseeing logistics operations at e-commerce giant Amazon, suddenly announced he was leaving the company. 

Clark took up the role in September 2022 as the forwarder looked to expand in e-commerce and fulfillment.

In a social media post announcing his departure, Clark said that Petersen had changed his mind on the company’s direction.

“I came to Flexport to do big things and that’s where I believe we were headed. Today,  Ryan and I discussed his desire to return to focussing on growth in the core freight business.

“In light of that, I feel he is best suited to lead the company in that direction.”

In turn, Petersen said important changes were needed to sustain growth and return to profitability.

“Flexport sits at a crossroads where the choice is either spend our way out of the current downturn in global logistics or pursue a path that gets us back to profitability quickly,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Clark’s lieutenants are also leaving the company.

The newswire reports that Teresa Carlson and Darcie Henry, hired while Clark was boss, were also leaving.

Clark was appointed as the forwarder looked to expand in e-commerce and fulfillment.

Six months into Clark’s appointment, Flexport announced the purchase of Shopify Logistics, including e-commerce fulfillment company Deliverr, as the company looked to extend the reach of its logistics offering.

In return e-commerce systems provider Shopify received stock that represents a roughly 13% equity interest in Flexport.

Shopify had purchased Deliverr for around $2.1bn in May 2022.

But the company was also battling a downturn in the freight market.

In January, Flexport announced it would trim employees by around 20% in response to expected reduced volumes following increasingly challenging economic conditions.

Clark and Peterson said in a note issued at the time: “We are overall in a good position, but are not immune to the macroeconomic downturn that has impacted businesses around the world.

“Our customers have been impacted by these challenging conditions, resulting in a reduction to our volume forecasts through 2023.

“Lower volumes, combined with improved efficiencies as a result of new organisational and operational structures, means we are overstaffed in a variety of roles across the company.”

The Wall Street Journal, which broke the news, suggests that Clark may run for governor of Texas.

Petersen back at Flexport as Dave Clarke departs

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]