Retensa’s Top 10 “Biggest Quits” of 2013
New York, NY, January 2014 – Paradoxes and unintended consequences afflicted the companies whose leaders quit in 2013. A fast food giant lost its CEO, and actually hurt his new company. The most influential person on monetary policy in the United States could not be paid enough to stay. And we saw a resignation that last occurred nearly 600 years ago. Hope you recorded it.
Reduced unemployment and low inflation provided for more stable economic conditions in 2013. So does merely being employed provide happiness and individual fulfillment? That is increasingly doubted. Job engagement is still very low and turnover continues to increase nationwide. Now add the Affordable Care Act’s removal of handcuffs from many once dependent on their company for medical insurance. All of those people previously bound to their employer by “preexisting conditions” are free, and we are likely to see an unprecedented rate of turnover next year among them.
Now in our ninth publishing, Retensa aims to identify the “Biggest Quits” across all industries to highlight the year’s most significant resignations. Though not always for the “right” reasons, these were quits that did not help the remaining institution. We present Retensa’s Top 10 “Biggest Quits” – the most intriguing turnover stories of 2013.
Ernst & Young: Jim Turley (Chairman and CEO) In 1977, the Bee Gees released the Saturday Night Fever album, the first Atari 2600 was sold, and Jim Turley got a job at Ernst & Young. Chairman since 2001 and chief executive since 2003, Turley led the firm through stormy times, from lawsuits over its audits of HealthSouth Corp, to allegations of helping Lehman Brothers to commit fraud before the 2008 bankruptcy. However, under Turley’s leadership, “EY” emerged unscathed and stronger, growing 130% since he took over. He set a bold...read more
We see their athletic apparel worn in gyms and selfies everywhere. Lululemon Athletica, founded in 1998 by Chip Wilson, saw Christine Day become CEO in June 2008. Annual sales at the high-end fitness clothing retailer topped $1 billion and share price rose 400%. So why would the CEO who oversaw all that suddenly quit? Some criticized her when some of Lululemon’s yoga pants were too sheer, and those pants were recalled in March, affecting 17% of its inventory. After the recalls, the press ultimately pushed sales upwards. As the yoga...read more
Barnes & Noble: William Lynch (CEO) Nook nook, who’s there? A customer. A customer who? A customer who used to shop here. As print evaporates into digital, B&N eventually followed the opportunity at their door. They entered the digital content market led by William Lynch, who drove the creation of all Nook tablets and software. With flattening retail store sales, this foray into a new medium could intercept Amazon Kindle’s dominance. But the guy leading that just left. This will be a tough maneuver for any successor. Diversifying with...read more
Pandora Radio: Joe Kennedy (CEO) Pandora is a household name. And Joe Kennedy helped it achieve an unprecedented 8.06% share of the total US radio market in October, up from 6.61% the year prior. Although Pandora hovers at the $20 share price of their 2011 IPO and came under fire for imposing a 40-hour limit on free mobile accounts (a cap they removed six months later), online radio is growing fast with the rise of ever-connected mobile devices. As the first radio station pre-installed on new TV’s, streaming devices, and Blu-ray...read more
Wal-mart: Mike Duke (CEO) With the myriad of challenges (pepper spray, walkouts, health care) that Wal-mart faces daily, the last thing they needed was instability at the top. Dedicated leadership can engage a workforce and can connect them with the values that built the $254 billion retailer of everything you could possibly imagine buying. Clearly, Wal-mart knows how to grow. They are facing today an overlooked and more important aspect of running a company: how to inspire. Turnover at the top will not help them deal with problems at the...read more
Burger King: Bernardo Hees (CEO) Burger King lost a CEO, and Heinz just got a very expensive one. In three years, Bernardo Hees oversaw major changes at the once-struggling burger chain, remaking Burger King into a nimble competitor in a more crowded, higher quality quick serve food market. Hees left Burger King to run Heinz. Not good for Burger King, but if it stopped there, so would we. Now it gets interesting. Heinz has a large customer named McDonald’s. McDonald’s, after a brief retort of “Are you serious?”, canceled all Heinz US and...read more
Microsoft: Steve Ballmer (CEO) & Don Mattrick (Chief of Interactive Entertainment) Five years after Bill Gates started Microsoft, Steve Ballmer joined in 1980. Twenty years later, he became CEO of the most ubiquitous technology company in the world, with 1 billion p read moreread more
University of Texas at Austin: Mack Brown (Head Football Coach) The University of Texas football program generated the most revenue and highest profit among all college athletic programs in 2012. Mack Brown led football for 16 years and resigned in December. Though the program struggled in recent years, Brown achieved a 158-47 record there and brought the national championship in 2005, and was “Coach of the Year” in 2006. Whoever the next coach is will have a short rebuilding season. Then comes the challenge of filling the...read more
Hulu: 4 Executive Exodus When YouTube and short clips were emerging, Hulu brought full-length TV streaming to the public. A joint venture of NBC, ABC, and Fox, they chose Jason Kilar to distinguish itself from traditional TV with instant shows and less ads. Kilar achieved revenue and built a following quickly. Now the content providers could keep higher profits posing a threat to traditional affiliate broadcast and cable models that dominated for 50 years. Kilar’s departure was abrupt and led to a mass exodus of other top executives,...read more
Ulta Salons + U.S. Cellular: Chuck Rubin (CEO) + Mary Dillon (CEO) In July 2012, Michaels CEO John Menzer resigned after suffering a stroke in April 2012. Michaels CFO Charles Sonsteby and Lew Klessel, a managing director of Bain Capital Partners LLC, took on the interim CEO position until February 2013. That is when Chuck Rubin left UIta Salon Cosmetics & Fragrance (with $2.22 billion in fiscal 2012), for Michaels, (largest arts and crafts retailer with $4.6 billion in sales), which created a double butterfly effect. Mary Dillon,...read more