Haslam taps short-lived Pilot CEO for UT board

John Compton. (Photo credit: Gov. Haslam’s office)

Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has tapped a former CEO of the family-owned Pilot Flying J truck stop chain to the reconstituted board of the University of Tennessee.

Haslam nominated John Compton and nine others as nominees to the UT board on Monday. Compton ran Pilot for less than six months after Jimmy Haslam, the governor’s brother, stepped aside following his 2012 purchase of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

Less than six months later, Jimmy Haslam decided to come back to run the company. Compton, a former president of PepsiCo Inc., was shifted into a consulting role. In April 2013, federal agents descended on Pilot’s Knoxville headquarters amid widespread fraud perpetrated by the company’s sales department.

Lawmakers last week gave final approval to a bill to reduce the number of voting UT trustees from 27 to 11. Gov. Bill Haslam’s other nominees are:

  • Former St. Jude Children’s Hospital CEO Bill Evans of Memphis.
  • Denark Construction CEO Raja Jubran of Knoxville.
  • Adams and Reese lobbyist Brad Lampley of Nashville.
  • Former UT basketball player Kara Lawson of Alexandria, Va.
  • Butler Snow attorney and former special state Supreme Court Justice Melvin Malone of Franklin.
  • Trust Co. CEO Sharon Pryse of Knoxville.
  • Autozone CEO Bill Rhodes of Memphis.
  • Former Tysons Foods CEO Donnie Smith of Fayetteville, Ark.
  • River City Co. CEO Kim White of Chattanooga.

The state commissioner of agriculture, currently Jai Templeton, will also serve on the board of the land grant university.

Note: Four of the new board members are members of the current board: Raja Jubran (who is vice chairman with Haslam as official chairman), Bill Evans, Brad Lampley and Sharon Pryse.


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