Rent-A-Center CEO Mark Speese leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After less than one year in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Speese
  • Mitch Fadel taking over
  • Speese said 65 words

(exechange) — Plano, Texas, January 2, 2018 — This news came the day after New Year’s Day. Mark Speese, chief executive of Rent-A-Center, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Rent-A-Center, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, January 2, 2018, Mark E. Speese has left his post as Chief Executive Officer at the furniture and electronics rent-to-own company after less than one year in the position, effective December 30, 2017.

No company wants a CEO to flame out in the first year.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past twelve months was 8.8 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 3 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past twelve months left the position within their first year. Around 11 percent left the position within two years, and 21 percent left the position within three years.

Speese’s move comes shortly after J.V. Lentell took over as Chairman of Rent-A-Center, Inc.

Speese’s duties will be taken over by Mitch Fadel, a former President and Chief Operating Officer at Rent-A-Center, Inc.

Already a director

Fadel is already a director of Rent-A-Center.

“Appropriate time for me to move on from the Company”

A reason for Speese’s sudden departure from the CEO post was not explicitly given. Speese said: “With the Company having entered its current transitional phase, and the improvements in the Company’s portfolio as reported over the past several months, I believe now is an appropriate time for me to move on from the Company.”

Precise information about Speese’s future plans was not immediately available.


Rent-A-Center said: “Mr. Fadel’s appointment follows Mark E. Speese’s decision to resign as CEO.”

Rent-A-Center further said: “Effective as of December 30, 2017, Mark E. Speese resigned his position as Chief Executive Officer of Rent-A-Center, Inc.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Rent-A-Center, Inc. since May 2015.

Chaired by J.V. Lentell

Rent-A-Center, Inc. is chaired by J.V. Lentell.

On December 6, 2017, the Board of Directors of Rent-A-Center appointed J.V. Lentell as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

In the position of CEO since 2017

Mark E. Speese is a Co-Founder of Rent-A-Center, Inc. and has been its Chief Executive Officer since April 10, 2017.

Speese served as the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Rent-A-Center, Inc. from January 10, 2017 to April 10, 2017.

Speese served as the Company’s Chairman of the Board from October 2001 until June 2017 and as a Board Director from 1990 until June 2017.

He served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer from October 2001 until January 2014.

Speese previously served as Vice Chairman from September 1999 until March 2001.

From 1990 until April 1999, Speese served as President, and he also served as Chief Operating Officer from November 1994 until March 1999.

At the time of Speese’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer at Rent-A-Center, Steven L. Pepper, then Lead Independent Director of Rent-A-Center’s Board, had said: “As a founder of Rent-A-Center, Mark brings a tremendous knowledge of the business and a strategic vision for the Company. He has played an essential role in the creation of our new strategic plan as well as the numerous efforts we’ve undertaken to drive growth and profitability in the business. As we take the next steps with the execution of our initiatives, the entire Board believes it is important for Mark to continue to lead the organization forward. I am confident that his deep industry and operational expertise and bold vision will enable Rent-A-Center to improve its trajectory and deliver enhanced value to our stockholders.”

At the time of his appointment as Chief Executive Officer at Rent-A-Center, Speese had said: “As a founder, I look forward to continuing the great work underway across Rent-A-Center, in order to return the company to a position of strength. Since assuming the role of Interim CEO earlier this year, we have taken decisive actions to drive operational improvements for the benefit of all Rent-A-Center stakeholders, and remain committed to improving the lives of our customers with our unique value proposition.”

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Mark Speese’s sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 2.2018 ($).