LSI Industries CEO Dennis Wells leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about three and a half years in the position
  • Praise for Wells
  • Ron Brown taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Cincinnati, Ohio, April 23, 2018 — Dennis Wells, chief executive of LSI Industries, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by LSI Industries Inc. in a news release on Monday, April 23, 2018, Dennis W. Wells leaves his post as chief executive officer at the lighting, graphics and technology firm after about three and a half 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 9.8 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

LSI Industries will undertake a search for a successor.

Wells’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Ronald D. (Ron) Brown, most recently Vice Chairman of The Armor Group.

The fact that Wells’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

In general, an outsider does not have the constraints of an insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions.

Wells’s move is part of a management shake-up.

LSI Industries also announced that its board of directors appointed Crawford Lipsey as interim president and chief operating officer.

No reason given

In the announcement, LSI Industries did not explicitly explain the obviously compelling reason for Wells’s sudden move, opening the door for speculation.

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

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for investors when a CEO leaves the position abruptly and without a reasonable explanation.

“Departure”

LSI Industries said: “The hiring of Brown and Lipsey follows the departure of Dennis W. Wells as president and chief executive officer on April 23, 2018.”

Brown and Lipsey will report to John Morgan, a member of LSI’s board of directors who will serve as managing director during the transition.

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of LSI Industries Inc. since April 2016.

Chaired by Gary P. Kreider

LSI Industries Inc. is chaired by Gary P. Kreider.

Gary P. Kreider has been a Director since April 2002 and was elected Chairman in November 2014.

In the position of CEO since 2014

Dennis W. Wells was Chief Executive Officer and President.

He was appointed Chief Operating Officer on October 1, 2014 and promoted to CEO on October 22, 2014.

He was appointed President on October 29, 2014.

Wells was appointed to the LSI Board in August 2015.

Prior to his service with LSI, Wells served as the Chief Operating Officer of Glantz Dynamic Solutions, a privately-owned supplier of digital signage supplies since 2013.

Prior to that, Wells served as Chief Operating Officer of Fulham, Inc., a privately-owned global manufacturer and supplier of lighting solutions, from 2010 to 2013.

Prior to that, Wells served as a Vice President at Acuity Brands Lighting, Inc. and Schneider Electric.

Unplanned

As a general rule, when a top manager announces to step down with no permanent successor available, it is a signal that the change was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Dennis Wells’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 18.2018 ($).