Discover Financial Services CEO David Nelms leaves post at short notice

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After 14 years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Nelms
  • Roger Hochschild taking over
  • Nelms spoke at length and said 73 words

(exechange) — Riverwoods, Illinois, August 3, 2018 — David Nelms, chief executive of Discover Financial Services, leaves the position. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Discover Financial Services in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, August 3, 2018, David W. Nelms leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the direct banking and payment services company after 14 years in the role, effective October 1, 2018.

It is the end of an era.

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 9.4 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 38 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position after more than 10 years.

Nelms leaves the company effective in early 2019.

Nelms’s duties will be taken over by Roger C. Hochschild, currently Chief Operating Officer of Discover Financial Services.

“In connection with its succession planning”

Nelms’s imminent departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Discover Financial Services said: “In connection with its succession planning, on August 2, 2018, the Board of Directors … of Discover Financial Services … appointed Roger C. Hochschild, currently the President and Chief Operating Officer of the Company, as Chief Executive Officer and President, effective October 1, 2018.”

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


Discover Financial Services said: “Roger Hochschild, currently President and Chief Operating Officer, will succeed David Nelms as Chief Executive Officer on October 1, 2018, and will retain his role as President.”

Discover Financial Services further said: “Nelms, currently Chairman and CEO, notified the Board of his intention to retire from Discover in early 2019.”

Share price rise since September 2017

The change follows a rise in the share price of Discover Financial Services since September 2017.

In the position of CEO since 2004

Nelms serves as Director since 2007 and as Chairman since 2009.

Nelms has served as the chief executive officer of Discover since 2004 and served as the Company’s president and chief operating officer from 1998 to 2004.

Nelms led the Company’s business as a director from 1998 and the Company’s Chairman from 2004 until the June 2007 spin-off from Morgan Stanley, the Company’s former parent company.

Nelms currently serves on the Federal Reserve Board of Chicago Board of Directors.

He also serves on the board of directors of CDW Corporation, a leading provider of technology solutions to business, government, education and healthcare.

Prior to joining Discover, Nelms worked at MBNA America Bank from 1991 to 1998, most recently as a vice chairman.

From 1990 to 1991, Nelms was a senior product manager for Progressive Insurance.

From 1986 to 1990, Nelms was a management consultant with Bain & Company.

Following the CEO succession, Nelms will continue as Executive Chairman until his retirement.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered David Nelms’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 32.2018 ($).