Gogo CEO Michael Small leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After eight years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Small
  • Oak Thorne taking over

(exechange) — Chicago, Illinois, March 5, 2018 — Michael Small, chief executive of Gogo, leaves – by “mutual decision”. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Gogo Inc. in a news release on Monday, March 5, 2018, Michael J. Small leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the provider of in-flight broadband Internet service after eight 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 CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 9.2 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Small’s duties will be taken over by Oakleigh (Oak) Thorne, a former Chief Executive Officer of Commerce Clearing House.

Thorne currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of Thorndale Farm LLC, the family office of the Thorne family, which is the largest Gogo shareholder, owning approximately 30 percent of the Company’s outstanding common stock.

Already a director

Thorne is already a director of Gogo. Often a board member is a last resort, someone who is turned to in desperation when a company cannot find suitable candidates. On the other hand, directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Thorne understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Gogo’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“Oak is the best person to help Gogo achieve our next phase of growth”

A reason for Small’s sudden departure from the CEO post was not explicitly given. Ronald T. LeMay, Chairman of the Gogo Board of Directors, said: “After a comprehensive search process, the Board determined that Oak is the best person to help Gogo achieve our next phase of growth.”

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

“Step down”

Gogo said: “Mr. Thorne’s appointment follows the mutual decision by Michael J. Small and the Gogo Board of Directors for Mr. Small to step down as President and Chief Executive Officer, and as a director of the Company.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Gogo Inc. since December 2013.

Chaired by Ronald T. LeMay

Gogo Inc. is chaired by Ronald T. LeMay.

In the position of CEO since 2010

Michael J. Small has been the Chief Executive Officer and President at Gogo Inc. since February 16, 2010.

Michael J. Small, President and Chief Executive Officer, Director, has served as Gogo’s President and Chief Executive Officer since February 2010.

Small has more than 30 years of experience in the communications industry.

From January 1999 until November 2009, Small served as the Chief Executive Officer and a Director of then-public Centennial Communications Corporation, a regional telecommunications service provider, where he was responsible for the strategic direction, financial well-being, and operational performance of the organization.

From 1995 to 1998, Small served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of 360 Degrees Communications Company.

Small has served on the board of directors of First Midwest Bancorp since 2010.

Small holds a B.A. from Colgate University and received his M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Michael Small’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 11.2018 ($).