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American trucking and logistics icon dies

Donald Schneider, former president and chief executive of trucking family business Schneider National, died on 13 January aged 76.
Don Schneider, former chief executive of Schneider National, died of Alzheimer's disease (Picture: Business Wire)

Donald Schneider, former president and chief executive of trucking family business Schneider National, died on 13 January aged 76.

Schneider, who joined the American transportation company while in high school, had Alzheimer’s disease, according to a statement.

He started off at the business, one of the largest logistics operators in North America, as a mechanic’s helper and became a truck driver in the 1950s. Following 13 months of military service in Korea and a master’s degree from Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, Schneider rejoined the family-owned company in 1961 as a manager, becoming president in 1976.

Following his father’s death seven years later, Schneider also became chief executive of the Green Bay, Wisconsin-based firm. During his 25-year tenure, Schneider was instrumental in transforming the then $82 million (€64.7 million) group into one with revenues of more than $3 billion.

Upon his retirement as chief executive and president in 2002, the second-generation family member was succeeded by non-family Chris Lofgren.

Schneider remained chairman of Schneider National until 2007. Besides being known as a trucking icon in the US, Schneider was also recognised for setting up the company’s philanthropic arm, the Schneider National Foundation. Focussing on improvements in Green Bay, the foundation has donated millions of dollars to various charities in the region.

The transportation group, founded in 1935 by Donald’s father Al Schneider after he sold the family car to buy a truck, was one of CampdenFB’s top 100 North American family businesses in 2010, thanks to its revenues of $3.7 billion.

Donald Schneider is survived by his wife, five children, 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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