RH CFO Karen Boone leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about four years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Boone
  • Ryno Blignaut taking over
  • Boone spoke at length and said 135 words

(exechange) — Corte Madera, California, August 13, 2018 — Karen Boone, finance chief of RH, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by RH in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, August 13, 2018, Karen Boone leaves her post as Chief Financial Officer at the home-furnishings company after about four years in the role, effective August 14, 2018.

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 6.8 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Boone’s duties will be taken over by Ryno Blignaut, a former Chief Financial and Risk Officer of Xoom.

The fact that Boone’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.

“To spend more time with her family”

Boone’s sudden departure from the CFO post is explained as follows. RH said: “Karen Boone has decided to step down from her current role to spend more time with her family, and has graciously agreed to work through a transitionary period to ensure a smooth handoff of her responsibilities.”

The phrase “to spend more time with her family” opens the door to speculation.

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

“Resignation”

RH said: “On August 13, 2018, RH … announced (i) the resignation of Karen Boone as President, Chief Financial Officer and Administrative Officer and (ii) the appointment of Ryno Blignaut as President, Chief Financial Officer and Administrative Officer, in each case effective August 14, 2018.”

“Not the result of any dispute or disagreement”

“Ms. Boone has indicated to RH that her resignation (i) is not the result of any dispute or disagreement with RH’s accounting principles or practices or financial statements and disclosures, and (ii) is motivated by personal reasons related to her wish to spend time for the next several years not working on a full time basis in order that she can have more time with her family while her children still reside at home,” RH 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 rise since February 2017

The change follows a rise in the share price of RH since February 2017.

Chaired by Gary Friedman

RH is chaired by Gary Friedman.

Gary Friedman serves as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of RH, and Founder of the RH brand.

In the position of CFO since 2014

Karen Boone has been the President of RH (formerly, Restoration Hardware Holdings) since December 06, 2017.

Boone has been the Chief Financial & Administrative Officer of RH since May 2014.

Karen Boone serves as RH’s President, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, and leads all financial and administrative functions, including strategic and financial planning, accounting, treasury, tax, internal audit, human resources, investor relations, legal, compliance, and facilities across the Company’s multiple businesses and brands.

Boone served as RH’s Co-President, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer from May 2016 to November 2017, Chief Financial and Administrative Officer from May 2014 to May 2016 and Chief Financial Officer from June 2012 to May 2014.

Prior to RH, Boone worked for Deloitte & Touche LLP, an accounting and consulting firm, where she most recently served as an audit partner.

Boone has served as the Chair of the Audit Committee and Director of Sonos since June 2017.

On August 13, 2018, Boone resigned from all of her officer and director positions with RH effective August 14, 2018 other than her position as principal accounting officer (“PAO”) of RH.

In order to assist with an orderly handover of her responsibilities to Blignaut, Boone has indicated that (i) she will remain in the role of PAO through the filing of RH’s Form 10-Q for the second fiscal quarter of 2018 at which time her resignation as PAO will become effective, and (ii) following the filing of the Form 10-Q, she will remain as an employee for a transition period through November 1, 2018 without an officer or director title.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Karen Boone’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 34.2018 ($).