Kraton CFO Steve Tremblay leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After almost 11 years in the position
  • Chris Russell taking over in the interim

(exechange) — Houston, Texas, November 16, 2018 — Steve Tremblay, finance chief of Kraton, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Kraton Corp. in a regulatory filing published on Friday, November 16, 2018, Stephen E. (Steve) Tremblay has left his post as Chief Financial Officer at the synthetic rubber manufacturing company after almost 11 years in the role, effective November 14, 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 CFOs who departed over the past 12 months was 6.6 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 22 percent of the CFOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position after more than 10 years.

Steve Tremblay’s duties were taken over in the interim by Christopher H. (Chris) Russell, most recently Chief Accounting Officer of Kraton Corporation, as interim Chief Financial Officer.

No reason given

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

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

Alarm signal

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

“Leaving”

Kraton said: “Stephen E. Tremblay, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Kraton Corporation …, the Company’s principal financial officer, is leaving such position with the Company effective November 14, 2018.”

“Not the result of any dispute or disagreement”

“Mr. Tremblay’s departure was not the result of any dispute or disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s accounting practices or financial statements,” Kraton 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 decline

The change follows a decline in Kraton Corporation’s share price of 48 percent since September 2018.

Chaired by Dan F. Smith

Kraton Corporation is chaired by Dan F. Smith.

Smith was named a director and Chairman in September 2009.

CEO: Kevin M. Fogarty

Kevin M. Fogarty serves as CEO of Kraton Corporation.

Fogarty was appointed the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2008. Prior to being appointed President and Chief Executive Officer, Fogarty served as the Company’s Executive Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing from June 2005.

In the position of CFO since 2008

Stephen E. Tremblay has been the Chief Financial Officer of Kraton Corporation since January 21, 2008.

Tremblay was appointed the Company’s principal financial officer in 2008.

From 1997 to 2007, Tremblay held various financial positions, including Chief Financial Officer, at Vertis, Inc., a provider of print advertising and media technology.

Tremblay held senior finance positions at Wellman, Inc., a provider of polyester fiber and resins, from 1990 to 1997 and was a member of the accounting and auditing practice at Ernst & Young LLP, from 1983 to 1990.

Tremblay earned a B.S. degree in business administration from Bryant University and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Unplanned

Generally speaking, when a top manager announces to step down with no permanent successor in place, it is a signal that the change was unexpected and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Steve Tremblay’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 47.2018 ($).