Monday, December 31, 2007
Stay tuned. The company needs a major shift in strategy and new blood if it ever is going to get itself going again and turn itself around.
24/7 Wall Street
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Earlier in the year, Universal brought in Kenneth Matz as president. At the time, he was considered heir apparent to McAnich's CEO position once the head of the company decided to hand over the reins of the CEO position. Matz left the company recently to pursue other opportunities. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times,
Oates ... most recently served as vice president of the specialty alloys operation of Carpenter Technology, based in Wyomissing, Pa. He also served as president and CEO of TW Metals in Birmingham, Ala., and president and COO of Connell Limited Partnership, a privately held metals recycling and fabrication firm based in Boston.In statement McAnich said,
Oates is "the right person to lead our company going forward."Oates appointment is a relief, it seemed to appear that McAnich might not have been willing to give up some of the reins which could have turned into a problem for the firm going forward.
"I have known Dennis for many years," McAninch said. "He is sharp, tough and highly knowledgeable about the global specialty steel business from both the manufacturing and distribution sides of our industry."
Keep a close eye on Oates and what he does for Universal and whether or not McAnich really begins to give up the reins of running the company.
Newly appointed CFOs may not be spending enough time on crucial issues such as understanding the drivers of their business, working on corporate strategy and building their finance team in their first one hundred days...Check it out.
Friday, December 21, 2007
According to the U.K. Register, Giancarlo,
... told reporters in a conference call yesterday that Cisco's management restructure did not fit with his ambitions to be at the helm of a company.
In a story by Mark Boslet in the Mercury News further elaboration was provided about Giancarlo's decision.
For better or worse, Chambers has put in place a new management structure. Chambers said the new management structure would,
Rumors about his (Giancarlo) possible departure began spreading nearly a month ago after Chambers told the board earlier this year he would remain for three to five more years.
Observers said differences in style between Giancarlo and Chambers may have discouraged him about his chances to lead the company. "Charlie and John are very different people," said Tom Nolle, president of market researcher CIMI of Voorhees, N.J. "Charlie is much more of an intellectual. John is the ultimate salesman - he's a showman."
"transition from a company that is driven from command and control to one that is built on teamwork and collaboration." ... “I believe this type of structure will be the future, given the complexities and ... market adjacencies we’re going to move into.”As Cisco continues to thrive, will the so called "new management structure" have an impact on the firm? Will things remain the same or will there be real changes and what will be the results?
The Houston Chronicle
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Burton had only been CEO since February 2007 and served as acting CEO since February 2006. She has been on the company's board since 2003. Just as her replacement Neal Goldberg, Burton had an extensive retailing background. At the time she had been appointed as permanent CEO, Richard C. Marcus who was the Chairman of the Board said,
"Betsy has done a superb job running the Company since February. Under her leadership, we are moving forward with a customer-centric strategy that leverages our fundamental strengths to regain market share, improve profitability and create value for shareholders. Betsy is an experienced executive with an outstanding record of leadership and a deep knowledge of Zale. Along with the strong management team we have put in place in recent months, Zale now has the right leadership to realize our long-term growth potential."Burton went on to shift the focus of the firm back to its more original retail strategy. According to the Dallas Morning News, Burton while interim CEO was quoted saying,
...the company believes the plan adopted by Leonard and former Zale CEO Mary Forte, who quit January 30, to market to higher-income customers and try to get product direct from foreign suppliers had not worked, and the company would go back to targeting average-income Americans.Since Marcus's announcement on the appointment of Burton, a new Chairman, John B. Lowe Jr., has taken over and numerous management changes have occurred and yet, the company has continued to under-perform. In today's announcement, the new Chairman, John B. Lowe Jr., said Goldberg,
"has a unique combination of retail experience, leadership and team-building skills, and talent to move the company forward, building on the progress that has already been achieved."Different Chairman same sentiments as when Burton was appointed. While Goldberg appears to have the right background and experience, he is coming from another retailer that recently has been under the gun (check the blog). The real question for me is what do the activist shareholders, who hold over 18% of the stock, plan to do? Zale has been floundering for a long time despite continuing efforts to turn itself around.
Stay tuned and make sure to watch both Goldberg and the outside activist investors (Breeden, Citadel and SAC).
For more see:
Dallas Morning News
Diamond Intelligence Briefs
Gerson Lehrman Group
Streetinsider.com 13D Tracker
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Peter Cohan of BloggingStocks has a slightly different take on why the CEOs decided to forgo a bonus. Here is what he said,
Why are they doing this? Because it's going to make it easier for them to stiff lots of employees who they don't think will be essential to making a profit in 2008 and 2009. Investment banks have less bonus money to go around and they will try hard to pay enough to their top performers to keep them from jumping ship. If they can keep these top performers around, then they will be able to reap the rewards in the future. In the meantime, those no-bonus CEOs will need to make do with the hundreds of millions they've gotten in the last few years.Whatever the reason, it is definitely a new approach.
NY Times (Update Dec. 21)
CNN Money (Update Dec. 21)
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Recommended Reading - More corporate execs concede to shareholder demands to avoid showdowns, possible ouster
Companies are making more concessions to prevent shareholder proposals from getting onto proxy ballots, according to the latest corporate governance review by corporate governance consulting firm Georgeson.Is the balance of power actually shifting away from top executives? Not likely, but there is somewhat of a slight shift. For the full study click here.
Non-CEO executives accounted for 29% of new independent directors on boards of Standard & Poor's 500 concerns, according to an analysis of recent proxy statements by recruiters SpencerStuart. That's up from 18% in 2001. (Both figures include some retirees.) Those ranks will keep growing, predicts Julie Daum, head of the search firm's U.S. board practice. Boards "are looking for different kinds of skills," she says.For more on the story click here.
It turns out that a senior member of AMD's public relations staff erred when confirming Thursday afternoon--prior to publishing this report--that Hector was given a raise this week. The raise in question actually came last year, and the $1,046,358 in the proxy statement reflected that Hector spent part of 2006 making $950,000, and part of 2006 making $1,124,000. Hector's annual salary rate has changed slightly since then, but by just $24,000 or so to reflect a different accounting treatment of a car expense.Raise or no raise he is still one of the highest if not highest paid semiconductor CEOs and what is AMD getting from him for such large pay? He remains on my CEO Watch List.
Hesse's appointment seems to have been a safe choice. It's unclear whether safe is exactly what Sprint really needs at the moment. At least the waiting is over and the company can now start to move on to make the necessary decisions to try and get itself back on track. Hesse's appointment comes after it became known that Sprint rejected a $5 billion offer after it had been approached by former Sprint Chairman Tim Donahue, South Korea's SK Telecom Co Ltd and Providence Equity Partners.
Investors need to keep an extremely close eye on Hesse and his team as we move forward. Sprint remains in trouble and we will just have wait and see what the new management can do to reverse the firm's problems.
Barron's Tech Trader Online
Kansas City Business Journal
Kansas City Star
24/7 Wall Street
Monday, December 17, 2007
According to Wharton faculty members ... say, companies are increasingly looking to fill top spots with external candidates, while placing less emphasis on grooming employees to fill those roles.The article breaks down into separate analyses of a different Wharton professors, who specialize in Leadership and Management. For the entire piece click here.
... "The trend line from 1970 to 2000 shows a slow but steady increase in the number of companies that look to the outside in the case of a departing CEO," says Wharton management professor Michael Useem, director of the school's Center for Leadership and Change Management. "At the start of that period, one in seven new CEOs at major companies came from outside the firm; by the end, one in four."
Friday, December 14, 2007
"We blew it and we're very humbled by it and we learned from it and we're not going to do it again."I continue to keep Ruiz on the top of my CEO Watch list. For more on Ruiz's latest compensation increase check out PC Advisor.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Welding's resignation is a good sign for the company. He has had more than sufficient time to get the company moving in a really positive direction but nothing he has done has seemed to succeed. The real question is whether Federal Signal can find the right executive to take on the company's challenges.
Keep a close eye on who the company picks to succeed Welding and what the firm does in the interim period before a successor is chosen.
The Gap has managed to surprise many lately. According to a story today by Heather Burke for Bloomberg entitled, Gap First Holiday-Quarter Profit Gain Since '05 Signals Rebound, the company,
By refusing to join competitors making early-holiday markdowns, the biggest U.S. clothing retailer may post a fourth- quarter profit gain for the first time since 2005.
... After two years of declining sales, San Francisco-based Gap has cut inventory at its namesake brand to avoid having to slash prices on $98 cashmere sweaters and $148 tweed coats in what may be the slowest Christmas shopping season in five years.The article points specifically to Gap's brand president, Marka Hansen, as the key behind the change but Murphy is close by. The article went on to point out,
Of 25 analysts who follow Gap, 12 recommend buying the shares, 11 say to hold them and two say to sell, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Keep a close eye on the steps The Gap follows to continue its potential comeback.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
CNN Money (Fortune)
Crain's New York
Today the company announced its Board of Directors appointed Kurtis Hooley, the current director of business development and financial planning, to be its Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining the company, Hooley served as the President of MKH Enterprises from 2003 to 2006. Hooley replaces Lonnie Brock, who on December 5, 2007 notified the company of his resignation in order to take a position with another company. Brock will remain at Double Eagle through December 31, 2007 and will assist in the transition to the new CFO. Five days after the Brock announcement, Stephen Hollis, the company's CEO since 1994 and a long-time employee of the firm, notified the company's Board of Directors that he desired to resign from his position as CEO and Chairman as of December 31, 2007. Hollis indicated he was willing to continue as an employee to provide advice and expertise concerning the Company's operations for at least an additional year through December 31, 2008. He will continue as a member of the Company's Board of Directors.
The company's press release stated,
Neither Mr. Brock nor Mr. Hollis resigned from their respective positions due to any disagreement with the Company, or because of any improprieties or any other matter relating to the Company's operations, policies or practices.The Board appointed Richard Dole, who has been a director of Double Eagle since March 2005, as Chairman. As part of his responsibilities, Dole, on behalf of the Board, will coordinate company activities and management until a new CEO is selected.
The double loss in top management does not bode well for a company that has not displayed many positive financial aspects over the last few years. While the company recently had a favorable legal finding with regard to a lawsuit initiated by environmental organizations, the loss of its long time CEO and its CFO indicates there may not be great financial opportunities awaiting the company over the next few years.
Keep an eye on the interim management of the firm and the individual the company finds to replace Hollis as CEO.
CNN Money (more)
Small Cap Investor
Friday, December 7, 2007
Thursday, December 6, 2007
According to Harry Weber in an Associated Press story,
Muhtar Kent has been groomed as Isdell's successor. In a story by Mary Jane Credeur and Duane D. Stanford for Bloomberg when referring to Kent the reporters quoted Walter Gerasimowicz, chief executive officer of Meditron Asset Management, which has about 2.5 percent of its $1 billion in assets in Coca-Cola shares,
John Sicher, an industry expert and editor and publisher of Beverage Digest, said naming Kent as Isdell's successor is a positive move for Coca-Cola.
"He understands the company and the system literally as well as anybody in the world and better than most," Sicher said.
Sicher added, however, that business challenges lie ahead for Coca-Cola and Kent after Isdell steps down as CEO, particularly in the company's key North American market.
"He has a great deal of experience as a bottler and in the international markets, and that's very important to Coca-Cola.''It appears Coca-Cola has shown the corporate world how to do a CEO succession. We will just have to wait and see how it all works out.
For more on the change see:
International Herald Tribune
Atlanta Journal Constitution
The Wall Street Journal
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
1. Angelo Mozilo, Countrywide Financial CFC (NYSE) already on my CEO Watch list.
2. James Tobin, Boston Scientific BSX (NYSE)
3. John Mackey, Whole Foods WFMI (NASDAQ)
For now, I would add Scott A. Edmonds, CEO of Chicos FAS CHS (NYSE). Chico's owns and operates specialty stores throughout the United States. The boutiques target middle-to-high-income women ages 25-40 with clothes made primarily from natural fabrics. The company's results have continued to perform poorly under Edmonds' leadership and now might be a good time to seek a change in leadership and strategic direction for the firm. In a story by Reuters
The company reported a 44 percent drop in third-quarter net profit on Tuesday and forecast weaker-than-expected results as sales continued to slump in November. The company's shares slid 8.7 percent in extended trading following the announcement, in which it also said it was scaling back its expansion plans for 2008.While retail has been under pressure, Edmonds has failed to demonstrate the leadership and the talent to right the company ship. Keep an eye on Chicos.
"We are greatly disappointed with our performance to date," Chief Executive Scott Edmonds said in a statement. "Numerous challenges continue to affect the entire retail sector."
Third-quarter net profit fell to $23.6 million, or 13 cents per share, from $42.1 million, or 24 cents per share, a year earlier.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank, has turned down an approach from Citigroup about taking charge of the US bank, underlining the lack of high-profile external candidates for the job.Who else out there has turned down the job? We will just have to wait and see. Many people continue to predict it will be current Citi employee Vikram Pandit. Stay tuned.
Mr Ackermann was asked if he would be interested in becoming Citigroup’s chairman and chief executive following the resignation of Chuck Prince. He “was approached, but said he was not available”, according to someone familiar with the matter.