Energy Recovery CEO Joel Gay leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After less than three years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Gay
  • Chris Gannon taking over in the interim

(exechange) — San Leandro, California, February 27, 2018 — Joel Gay, chief executive of Energy Recovery, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Energy Recovery, Inc. in a news release on Tuesday, February 27, 2018, Joel Gay leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the energy solutions provider to industrial fluid flow markets after less than three years in the position, effective immediately.

No company wants a CEO 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 CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 9.2 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 20 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within three years.

Gay’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Chris M. Gannon, most recently Chief Financial Officer of Energy Recovery, Inc.

“Need to attend to personal family matters”

Gay’s sudden departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Energy Recovery said: “Mr. Gay submitted his resignation to the Board on Saturday, February 24th, 2018, citing the need to attend to personal family matters.”

The phrase “need to attend to personal family matters” opens the door to speculation.

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


Energy Recovery said: “The Board of Directors of Energy Recovery … announced today the resignation of President and Chief Executive Officer Joel Gay.  The Board has accepted Mr. Gay’s resignation.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Energy Recovery, Inc. since September 2016.

Chaired by Hans Peter Michelet

Energy Recovery, Inc. is chaired by Hans Peter Michelet.

He first joined the board of directors in August 1995 and has served as its chairman since September 2004, during which time he has been intrinsically involved in most of the company’s strategic decisions.

In the position of CEO since 2015

Joel Gay has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Energy Recovery since April 24, 2015 and was a member of the company’s Board of Directors.

He joined Energy Recovery in 2012 and has held several positions at the company, including Head of Strategy and Chief Financial Officer.

Prior to joining Energy Recovery, he held various roles at Aegion Corporation, most notably as CFO of its largest division, North America and prior to that, Strategic Advisor to the CEO where he led the company’s diversification into Oil & Gas through a series of acquisitions.

Gay has also held several General Management and Operations positions within the Service Master companies.

He began his career in entrepreneurial finance, where he led a private equity-backed start-up to a successful liquidity event.

Gay serves on the board of GDG Constructors as an Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee.

He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA from St. Thomas University.

He was also recognized by Fortune Magazine as the 13th most influential business leader globally under the age of forty in its 2016 Forty Under Forty issue.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Joel Gay’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 10.2018 ($).