Workiva CEO Matt Rizai leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After nine years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Rizai
  • Marty Vanderploeg taking over

(exechange) — Ames, Iowa, June 11, 2018 — Matt Rizai, chief executive of Workiva, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Workiva Inc. in a news release on Monday, June 11, 2018, Matthew M. (Matt) Rizai leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the enterprise software company after nine years in the role, 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 9.5 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Rizai’s duties will be taken over by Martin J. (Marty) Vanderploeg, most recently President and Chief Operating Officer of Workiva Inc.

No reason given

In the announcement, Workiva did not explicitly explain the obviously compelling reason for Rizai’s sudden move, leaving room for speculation.

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

Alarm signal

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


Workiva announced “that its Board of Directors has unanimously named Martin Vanderploeg as Chief Executive Officer.”

Vanderploeg continues to serve as President and as a member of the company’s Board of Directors.

In addition, the Board elected David Mulcahy as non-executive Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Workiva said: “Both appointments, which are effective immediately, follow the mutual decision between the Workiva Board and former Chairman and CEO Matthew Rizai that Mr. Rizai will resign from his positions as an officer and director of the company.”

Share price rise since January 2017

The change follows a rise in the share price of Workiva Inc. since January 2017.

In the position of CEO since 2009

Matthew M. Rizai has been the Chief Executive Officer of Workiva Inc. since 2009.

Rizai has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer since 2009, as Chairman of the Board since December 2014, and as a Managing Director of Workiva LLC from 2009 through December 2014.

He has over 20 years of experience as a Mechanical Engineer and 15 years of experience leading technology companies.

Prior to founding Workiva, Rizai was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Engineering Animation, Inc. (NASDAQ: EAII) (EAI) from 1990 to 2000, when it was acquired by Unigraphics Solutions (now part of Siemens USA).

Prior to EAI, Rizai was a senior research engineer at General Motors Research Laboratories, an analyst at Arch Development Corporation, and a development engineer at Ford Motor Company.

He also co-founded Computer Aided Design Software, Inc.

Rizai earned a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 25.2018 ($).