Advance Auto Parts CFO Tom Okray leaves for Grainger

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After less than a year and a half in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Okray
  • Jeff Shepherd taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Okray made a lengthy statement and said 68 words

(exechange) — Roanoke, Virginia, April 2, 2018 — Tom Okray, finance chief of Advance Auto Parts, leaves the position. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Advance Auto Parts, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, April 2, 2018, Thomas B. (Tom) Okray leaves his post as Chief Financial Officer at the retailer of automotive parts after less than a year and a half in the position, effective April 13, 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 12 months was 6.2 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 18 percent of the CFOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position within two years, and 34 percent left the position within three years.

Okray leaves the company effective April 15, 2018.

Advance Auto Parts will undertake a search for a successor.

Okray’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Jeffrey W. (Jeff) Shepherd, most recently Chief Accounting Officer of Advance Auto Parts, Inc.

Career change

Okray’s imminent departure from the CFO post is explained as follows. Advance Auto Parts said: “Okray is leaving the company to accept an executive role with a global, publicly traded company outside of the aftermarket parts industry.”

Okray will be CFO at Grainger

On April 2, 2018, Grainger announced it has appointed Thomas Okray as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective May 2, 2018.

Okray will succeed Ron Jadin who, as previously announced, will retire from Grainger after 20 years with the company, 10 of which as Senior Vice President and CFO.

Grainger announced the move on Monday, April 2, 2018.

Grainger is the largest industrial supplier in North America by sales.


Advance Auto Parts said: “Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Tom Okray has decided to leave the organization, effective April 15, 2018.”

Advance Auto Parts further said: “Thomas Okray has tendered his resignation as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective on April 15, 2018.”

“Not the result of any disagreement”

“Mr. Okray’s departure is not the result of any disagreement regarding the Company’s operations, financial reporting or accounting policies, procedures, estimates or judgments,” Advance Auto Parts 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 Advance Auto Parts, Inc. since October 2015.

Chaired by Jeffrey C. Smith

Advance Auto Parts, Inc. is chaired by Jeffrey C. Smith.

Smith became a member of the Company’s Board in November 2015 and has served as the independent Chair of the Board since May 2016.

CEO: Thomas R. Greco

Thomas R. Greco serves as CEO of Advance Auto Parts, Inc. Greco became the President and Chief Executive Officer on August 14, 2016, having served as Chief Executive Officer since April 11, 2016.

In the position of CFO since 2016

Okray joined Advance as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer on October 31, 2016.

Prior to joining Advance, Okray was employed by Amazon beginning in 2015 where he most recently served as Vice President, Finance, Global Customer Fulfillment since January 2016.

In this role he was the finance lead responsible for optimizing key elements of Amazon’s Global Fulfillment Network, including transportation/supply chain, capacity and labor planning, cost/productivity of fulfillment centers, capital, engineering and procurement.

Prior to this role, he served as Vice President, Finance, North American Operations with Amazon.

Prior to joining Amazon, Okray held various leadership positions at General Motors, including roles in the United States, Germany, Italy, Poland and Korea.

In his most recent role with General Motors as CFO, Global Product Development, Purchasing & Supply Chain, he was responsible for supporting future vehicle, engine and transmission development, global capital, engineering expense, and purchasing operations which included the company’s global supply chain organization.

At the time of Okray’s appointment as Chief Financial Officer at Advance Auto Parts, Tom Greco, President and CEO, had said: “On behalf of the entire executive team, we are delighted to welcome Tom to the Advance team. Tom brings deep experience in finance, with a particular focus on leading the finance function in helping to drive efficient supply chain operations. Importantly, Tom is very familiar with a supply chain that must respond rapidly to online demand. This will be increasingly critical to accelerating our growth at Advance going forward. Tom’s strong track record as a proven and respected leader within Fortune 100 companies like Amazon and GM, and his passion for success, make him the ideal person to lead our finance function.”

At the time of his appointment as Chief Financial Officer at Advance Auto Parts, Okray had said: “Advance is a well-positioned industry leader with an extraordinary opportunity to deliver improved performance. I am truly honored and excited to join the team during this transformative time. I look forward to working with Tom, the management team, and the entire Advance family to help contribute to Advance’s success.”

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Tom Okray’s imminent 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 15.2018 ($).