Kirkland’s CEO Mike Madden leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about three years in the position
  • Thanks for Madden
  • Mike Cairnes taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Madden said 44 words

(exechange) — Nashville, Tennessee, April 6, 2018 — Mike Madden, chief executive of Kirkland’s, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Kirkland’s, Inc. in a news release published on Thursday, April 5, 2018 and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, April 6, 2018, W.Michael (Mike) Madden leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the specialty retailer of home décor after about three 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 9.6 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Kirkland’s will undertake a search for a successor.

Madden’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Michael B. (Mike) Cairnes, most recently Chief Operating Officer of Kirkland’s, Inc.

“Improve our financial performance”

A reason for Madden’s sudden departure from the CEO post was not explicitly given. R.Wilson Orr, Kirkland’s Chairman of the Board, said: “We have important initiatives underway that we believe can improve our financial performance, and Mike Cairnes’ proven experience in running our day-to-day operations will enable us to maintain continuity and execution focus as the board proceeds with the CEO search.”

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


Kirkland’s said: “Kirkland’s, Inc. … today announced that W.Michael Madden has resigned from his roles as President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of the Company, effective immediately, and will serve as an employee-advisor to the board until June 30, 2018.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Kirkland’s, Inc. since June 2015.

Chaired by R.Wilson Orr

Kirkland’s, Inc. is chaired by R.Wilson Orr.

Orr has been Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors since March 2006.

In the position of CEO since 2015

Madden has served as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer since February 2015.

Prior to that, Madden served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since January 2008 and Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since May 2006.

Prior to his appointment as Chief Financial Officer, Madden served as Vice President of Finance from May 2005 to April 2006.

From July 2000 to May 2005, he served as Director of Finance. Prior to joining Kirkland’s, Madden served as Assistant Controller with Trammell Crow Company and was with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

At PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, he served in positions of increasing responsibility over six years culminating as Manager-Assurance and Business Advisory Services where he worked with various clients, public and private, in the retail and consumer products industries.


Generally speaking, when a top leader announces to step down with no permanent successor in place, it’s a sign that the change was unexpected and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Mike Madden’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 15.2018 ($).