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.


3 Responses to Haslam taps short-lived Pilot CEO for UT board

  • Avatar
    Tommy Ray McAnally says:

    I will unseat Mr John Compton if I can. SEE what BIG, BIG MONEY WILL DO. I AM TIRED OF BIG MONEY DICTATORSHIP!

  • Avatar
    Thomas Walker says:

    Press release from United Campus Workers (submitted as a comment)
    UCW: Haslam Board of Trustee Nominees Should Be Scrutinized
    April 9, 2018

    Nashville–UCW urges the state legislature to scrutinize Governor Haslam’s nominees for a recast Board of Trustees following the narrow passage of the UT FOCUS Act two weeks ago, which liquidated the existing Board and created a smaller, more powerful, less representative top governing body for the UT system. Of the ten nominees, half donated to Haslam’s campaign for governor*, all but three are CEOs, and at least one is not a resident of Tennessee. Among the nominees is a former CEO of the Haslam dynasty’s main source of wealth, Pilot Flying J, as well as longtime Haslam dynasty ally Raja Jubran, an adamant supporter of outsourcing campus jobs. None of the nominees represent key campus stakeholders. Despite assurances that the UT FOCUS Act would not open a backdoor for outsourcing, campus workers would be right to worry: with so many millionaires, Haslam political cronies, and executives focused on their company bottom line and profit, without legal protection from privatization, thousands of jobs are back on the line. UCW calls on the legislature to question the nominees about outsourcing specifically, and if they will respect the UT system decision to opt-out–or not.

  • Avatar
    Michael Lottman says:

    Previous comment has it absolutely right. Haslam ought to be impeached for this brazen corporate takeover of the state’s university.

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