Surgery Partners CFO Teresa Sparks leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After less than three years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Sparks
  • David Kretschmer taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Nashville, Tennessee, January 29, 2018 — Teresa Sparks, finance chief of Surgery Partners, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Surgery Partners, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, January 29, 2018, Teresa F. Sparks has left her post as Chief Financial Officer at the healthcare services company after less than three years in the position, effective January 25, 2018.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CFOs who departed over the past twelve months was 6 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 36 percent of the CFOs who departed over the past twelve months left the position within three years.

Sparks’s move comes shortly after Wayne DeVeydt took over as CEO of Surgery Partners, Inc.

Surgery Partners will undertake a search for a successor.

Sparks’s duties will be taken over in the interim by David Kretschmer, most recently Senior Vice President of Treasury and Corporate Strategy at Anthem, Inc.

“To pursue other opportunities”

Sparks’s sudden departure from the CFO post is explained as follows. Surgery Partners said that Teresa Sparks “is stepping down to pursue other opportunities after a combined 20 years of distinguished service to the Company and legacy company Symbion, Inc.”

The phrase “to pursue other opportunities” opens the door to speculation.

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

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often a wake-up call for stockholders when a CFO leaves the post abruptly and without an understandable explanation.

“Stepped down”

Surgery Partners said that Teresa Sparks “stepped down from her role as Chief Financial Officer of the Company, effective as of January 25, 2018.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Surgery Partners, Inc. since June 2017.

CEO: Wayne DeVeydt

Wayne DeVeydt serves as CEO of Surgery Partners, Inc. Wayne S. DeVeydt was appointed Chief Executive Officer and Director of Surgery Partners, Inc. in January 2018. DeVeydt previously served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Anthem, Inc. for nearly a decade, overseeing the financial operations associated with the company’s over $82 billion in annual revenues.

In the position of CFO since 2015

Teresa F. Sparks has been the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President at Surgery Partners, Inc. since April 2015.

Teresa Sparks serves as Executive Vice President and CFO of Surgery Partners and served as SVP and CFO of Symbion until its acquisition in 2014.

She was Corporate Controller of Symbion from its inception until she was named VP in 2002.

Prior to joining Symbion, she served as Assistant Controller for HealthWise of America, Inc., and senior healthcare auditor for Deloitte and Touche.

Before joining Surgery Partners, Sparks worked at legacy company Symbion, Inc. from 1996 until 2014.

She will help support the transition of the finance and investor relations functions as a consultant for 6 months while the Company identifies a permanent CFO.

Unexpected

Generally speaking, when a top leader announces to step aside with no permanent successor in place, it is a signal that the change was unexpected and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Teresa Sparks’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 6.2018 ($).