There will soon be new leadership at one of Knoxville's most high-profile companies.
Pilot Flying J announced Tuesday that John Compton, president of PepsiCo, will assume the role of chief executive officer of the company.
Jimmy Haslam has served as CEO of Pilot since 1994. He will assume the role of chairman of Pilot Flying J and Maxum Petroleum. His father, Jim Haslam, who founded the company, will be titled founder and chairman emeritus
"We are tremendously excited to have an individual with John's intelligence, character and financial acumen join our Pilot Flying J team," said Jimmy Haslam. "He will bring tremendous management skills which will enable Pilot Flying J to continue the rapid growth it has enjoyed over the last decade."
Compton is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from UT in 1983. He has remained involved at the university ever since, serving on the Business School Dean's Advisory Board for the past 12 years. The College of Business named him a Distinguished Alumni in 2010. One year later, the University gave him its highest alumni honor by naming him Distinguished Alumnus.
"We are delighted that John Compton is coming home to east Tennessee as the CEO of Pilot Flying J," said University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. Cheek added, "John has been a tremendous supporter of the university over the years and his leadership has greatly enhanced UT. Now the entire community will benefit from that leadership and we're very proud that he will be running one of our state's premier companies."
After college, Compton started working at Frito-Lay plant in Pulaski, Tennessee, and his worked his way up through the company to vice chairman and president of its salty snacks division. He later became chief executive officer of Quaker, Tropicana and Gatorade. In March 2012, he was named president of PepsiCo.
He and his family will be moving to Knoxville soon.
"I am honored to have been extended the trust of the Haslam family. I have watched Pilot Flying J succeed for many years and have seen first-hand their strategic acuity and operational excellence. My wife Cindy and our children Kendall, Caroline and Jack are thrilled to be coming to Knoxville. And, I am forever grateful to PepsiCo. I have had the great fortune of learning from world-class teams and I look forward to serving the associates and customers of Pilot Flying J."
In addition, Pilot Flying J announced that Mark Hazelwood had been promoted to president and Ken Parent to executive vice president. Hazelwood, a 27-year veteran of Pilot Flying J has been the primary architect of the company's national truck stop strategy while Parent has been in charge of day to day operations of the company's retail stores.