Mosaic CFO Rich Mack leaves post abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After less than four years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Mack
  • Tony Brausen taking over in the interim

(exechange) — Plymouth, Minnesota, January 31, 2018 — Rich Mack, finance chief of Mosaic, leaves the position. It is an abrupt change. As announced by The Mosaic Company in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, Richard L. (Rich) Mack leaves his post as Chief Financial Officer at the fertilizer maker after less than four years in the position, effective immediately.

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.

Mack leaves the company effective May 31, 2018.

Mack’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Tony Brausen, most recently Vice President – Finance at The Mosaic Company.

No reason given

In the announcement, Mosaic did not explicitly explain the obviously compelling reason for Mack’s sudden move, leaving room for speculation.

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

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for stockholders when a CFO leaves the post abruptly and without a reasonable explanation.

“Step down”

Mosaic said: “Rich Mack will step down from his position as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, and leave the company in May of 2018.”

Mosaic further said: “Richard L. Mack, Mosaic’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and its designated principal accounting officer, will be leaving Mosaic effective May 31, 2018. Effective January 31, 2018 he is no longer serving in his prior roles and has been appointed to the position of Senior Advisor through May 31, 2018.”

“Not related to any issues”

“Mr. Mack’s departure is not related to any issues regarding the integrity of Mosaic’s financial statements or accounting policies and practices,” Mosaic said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers. Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of The Mosaic Company since February 2011.

Chaired by Robert L. Lumpkins

The Mosaic Company is chaired by Robert L. Lumpkins.

CEO: Joc O’Rourke

Joc O’Rourke serves as CEO of The Mosaic Company. James “Joc” C. O’Rourke is President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mosaic Company. Elected to the Mosaic Board of Directors in May 2015, O’Rourke succeeded Jim Prokopanko as the Company’s President and CEO effective August 5, 2015.

In the position of CFO since 2014

Mack has been the Company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since June 2014.

Prior to that, he served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary since January 1, 2009 and before that as Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary since the Company’s formation in 2004.

Mack was a founding executive responsible for the Company’s formation in the 2004 business combination between IMC Global Inc. and Cargill Crop Nutrition and was a core member of the executive team responsible for the Company’s subsequent successful spin-off from Cargill.

Since that time he has played key roles in negotiating and executing strategic transactions; led the Company’s successful resolution of a number critical legal disputes; led the development of the Company’s land use strategy, including the development of Streamsong Resort®; and led the development and implementation of the Company’s phosphate rock mine permitting strategy in Florida.

Prior to the Company’s formation, Mack was a Senior Attorney in Cargill’s worldwide law department and a co-founder of Cargill’s venture capital business unit.

Mack is a director of Titan Machinery, Inc. and a member of the MWSPC board, and serves on the Boards of Trustees of Hamline University and Mitchell | Hamline School of Law.

Mack has agreed to continue to provide leadership and oversight with respect to Mosaic’s Streamsong Resort®, first in his role as Senior Advisor and from June 1, 2018 through 2019 pursuant to a management services agreement with Mosaic.

Unexpected

As a general rule, when a top leader announces to step aside with no permanent successor available, it’s a sign that the move was unexpected and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Rich Mack’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 ($).