published Friday, May 13th, 2011

Kenco Group passes torch

Staff Photo by Matt Fields-Johnson/Chattanooga Times Free
The Kenco Logistical Services warehouse handles shipping for manufacturers who want to outsource transportation of their products.
Staff Photo by Matt Fields-Johnson/Chattanooga Times Free The Kenco Logistical Services warehouse handles shipping for manufacturers who want to outsource transportation of their products.


• Founded: 1950

• Headquarters: Chattanooga

• Warehouse space: 25 million feet nationally; 4 million in Chattanooga area

• Employees: 3,400 nationally; 600 full time in Chattanooga

Source: Company


• Kenco Logistics Services

• Kenco Transportation

• Kenco Toyota-Lift

• Kenco Management Services

• JDK Real Estate

Source: Company

Chattanooga-based warehouse and logistics giant Kenco Group has shuffled its top management, inserting a new chairman, chief executive and president.

The privately held company, which boasts more than 100 facilities in 30 states and Canada, has named Jane Kennedy Greene as chief executive and chairwoman.

The daughter of company co-founder Jim Kennedy Jr., she purchased a controlling interest in the business, according to Kenco. Her brother, Jim Kennedy III, had been chairman.

Also, Greene replaces Gary Mayfield as CEO of the company, Kenco said. Mayfield has retired after 18 years with the business, the company said, but he will serve on both the executive committee and board of directors.

Kenco said Shelia Crane has been appointed president of the company while Andy Smith was tapped as chief operating officer.

In addition, Sam Smartt Jr., who has been with the company for almost 30 years, was named dealer-principal for one of the Kenco businesses, Kenco Toyota-Lift, which supplies fork lifts and other material-handling equipment.

Greene said in a statement that she has grown up with Kenco, which was started by her father and his brother-in-law, Sam Smartt Sr., in 1950.

She said she is “honored to lead this amazing team of dedicated people.”

Neither Greene nor Crane returned calls seeking comment Thursday.

Company spokeswoman Martha Anderson said the moves are in line with “succession planning.” She said Greene now lives in Dallas.

Jim Kennedy Jr. termed the shifts “just a reorganization. It’s still a family company.”

He said in a statement that he always knew that proper succession planning would be a key to the company’s stability.

“Jane brings business acumen as well as steadfast loyalty to the professionals that keep Kenco moving forward,” Kennedy said.

Joel Anderson, chief executive of industry trade group the International Warehouse and Logistics Association, said Jim Kennedy Jr., Jim Kennedy III and Mayfield all had served as chairmen of the organization.

“It’s quite a local success story,” he said about the expansion of the business, adding it has grown its leadership from within.

Kenco said Greene, who holds a master’s in business administration from Vanderbilt University, and Smartt are the next generation of the founding principals and bring continuity of family ownership.

Crane has been with the business for 39 years, while Smith has been with Kenco for 11 years, the company said.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
Blackberry61 said...

Did Jim Kennedy III retire from Kenco?

May 13, 2011 at 2:51 a.m.
midtownsouth said...

"retire"...I wonder why Mrs. Greene and Mrs. Crane were unavailable for comment??..............

May 13, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.
Rockcity29 said...

My understanding was that Sam Smartt was fired several years ago and had to sell his interest in the business. Is he still qualified to represent the family without any interest in the business?

May 13, 2011 at 11:27 a.m.
Goldeneye said...

Sounds like others have heard the drum beat around town too. Hate to sound like a gossip but the word I've heard is that the company has been firing anyone associated with the old CEO Jim iii. Having a son similar in age to his children I have heard that not only was Kennedy fired but his own kids fired too! Imagine such! Sounds like the stuff out of a business class on the trials and tribulations of family firms...

May 13, 2011 at 11:50 a.m.
madaboutchat said...

It seems odd that Mrs. Greene is running a local, family business from Dallas and is refusing to comment about her new position to our local paper. How will it work for her to run one of our most successful local businesses if she is not here?

May 13, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.
dave said...

I guess enough Chattanoogians weren't being screwed.

May 13, 2011 at 3:43 p.m.
Blackberry61 said...

Thanks for the clarification. The Times Free Press should have clarified during their review why such a change occurred. Also, what is the experience of Ms. Greene? Has she been an employee of Kenco for some time leading up to this announcement?

Lastly, if this article is meant to highlight succession planning, why did someone of the same generation replace the former chairman Jim kennedy iii? I would be curious to learn the reason behind this 'strategic' decision'

May 13, 2011 at 5:21 p.m.
Jalop11 said...

I feel sorry for the folks at Kenco, this looks like a real mess.

May 13, 2011 at 10:58 p.m.
ginnyschatt said...

wow, just catching up on news and it looks like there is more to this than the article says! what is the background. were there other family members that could have been considered who live closer than texas??

May 15, 2011 at 3:23 p.m.
RockETopIII said...

Oh budy. This sounds awfully messy.

May 15, 2011 at 5:14 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Having exited a family business many years back, I can tell you that dealing with the family is often more difficult than running the business.

May 16, 2011 at 2:24 a.m.
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