New CEO will step up for Wilmington air transport company

Joe Hete will step down down as chief executive of Wilmington’s Air Transport Services Group, Inc. in May, being replaced by Rich Corrado, the air transport company said Tuesday.

Hete, 65, is expected to remain on ATSG’s board and to be elected chairman on his retirement. Randy Rademacher, current board chairman, is to become the board’s independent lead director, the company said.

Corrado, 60, became president of ATSG, an air leasing and transport company, in September.

RELATEDHow Amazon's explosive U.S. growth is producing thousands of jobs in Ohio

ABX Air was formed as a Wilmington-based subsidiary of Airborne Express, Inc. in 1980, and served as the airline operations unit of the package-express company until ABX Air was spun off as a separate publicly traded airline company in connection with DHL’s acquisition of Airborne in August 2003.

Hete has served as president, CEO and a director of ATSG since 2003, and for 20 years prior to that in management at ABX Air, Inc., including serving as its president, the company said.

“Hete said that he will be leaving ATSG’s management team, businesses, and shareholders in a strong position,” the company said in a release. “Over the ten years ended last December 31, ATSG’s common-share price increased more than four times as much as the benchmark Dow Industrials, S&P 500 and Russell 2000 indexes over the same period.”

Hete was heading ATSG in 2008 when air carrier DHL announced that it was closing what was then its Wilmington air cargo hub. The move affected some 8,000 area jobs.

ATSG remained in Clinton County and has secured a slowly growing business in the Wilmington Air Park. Today, the company serves not only DHL but Amazon. When Amazon confirmed the presence of its air cargo network in Wilmington in March 2016, it was leasing 20 Boeing 767 freighter jets from ATSG.

In November 2018, Amazon said it would open an “air gateway” and package-sorting facility at Wilmington Air Park.

The Wilmington air gateway retrofitted existing space at the Air Park, in buildings F and A. It was expected to take up 1.2 million square feet and about 35 acres. However, Amazon has said little publicly about how many jobs are anchored in the sorting center.

“I’m confident that the people I have worked with at ATSG, and those who will follow, will continue to produce results that attract new customers and yield solid returns,” Hete said in Tuesday’s release. “Rich Corrado’s creative energy and unique approaches to creating solutions-based packages of air transport services for our customers, the strong dedication to service and safety of our operating management teams, and the financial executives who deliver the capital we need to grow, will keep ATSG on the path to superior rewards for shareholders.”

About the Author