Management Turnover as Change Agent

Friday, February 19, 2010

Energy Solutions CEO Resigns - Stock Tumbles

Earlier today Energy Solutions Inc. ES (NYSE) announced that the firm's CEO and Chairman, Steve Creamer, had resigned his position effective immediately. The nuclear waste storage firm's stock price plummeted today. Creamer's resignation comes just two months after the firm's CFO, Philip Strawbridge, had resigned. The company immediately replaced Creamer with Val Christensen, who has been serving as the firm's president since 2008 and was previously evp and general counsel. The apparent abrupt management change was examined in a story by Bob Mims for the, The Salt Lake Tribune,
...slide may have prompted the new chief executive and the board to hold a quickly-announced teleconference call at mid-morning out of Boston, in which Christensen stressed that Creamer's departure - though coming earlier than expected - had been part of a succession plan approved by the board early last year.

"This was going to happen this year," Christensen said. However, he flatly refused to release detailed information on the reasons for Creamer's admittedly "abrupt" decision to resign some one to five months earlier than originally scheduled. Christensen said Creamer made his decision during a board meeting on Thursday.

"About a year ago, I was made [EnergySolutions] president as part of a longer term succession plan. The board and CEO Steve Creamer identified me as the most likely candidate. Steve's plan throughout the [past] year was to depart the company sometime in the spring or summer [of 2010]."

The dramatic management change requires investors to keep an extremely close eye on next week's fourth quarter earnings announcement and moves that top management takes over the next six to twelve months.

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