Compass Minerals CEO Fran Malecha leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about six years in the position
  • Dick Grant taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Overland Park, Kansas, November 19, 2018 — Fran Malecha, chief executive of Compass Minerals, leaves – as “mutually agreed.” It is an abrupt change. As announced by Compass Minerals International Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, November 19, 2018, Francis J. (Fran) Malecha leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the producer of minerals, including salt, magnesium chloride and sulfate of potash after about six 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 9.1 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Compass Minerals will undertake a search for a successor.

Fran Malecha’s duties will be taken over in the interim by Richard S. (Dick) Grant, most recently lead independent director of Compass Minerals International, Inc., as interim Chief Executive Officer.

No reason given

In the announcement, Compass Minerals did not explicitly explain the obviously compelling reason for Fran Malecha’s sudden move, leaving room for speculation.

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

Alarm signal

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

“Step down”

Compass Minerals said: “Compass Minerals … announced today that the company’s Board of Directors and Fran Malecha have mutually agreed that Malecha will step down from his position as president, CEO and board member effective immediately.”

Compass Minerals further said: “On November 16, 2018, the Board of Directors … of Compass Minerals International, Inc. … and Francis C. Malecha mutually agreed that Mr. Malecha will step down from his position as President, Chief Executive Officer and Board member effective November 19, 2018 and Mr. Malecha would remain as advisor to the Company until December 31, 2018.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in Compass Minerals International, Inc.’s share price of 46 percent since June 2014.

In the position of CEO since 2013

Malecha has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Compass Minerals International, Inc. since joining on January 17, 2013.

Malecha joined Compass Minerals in 2013 as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer with more than 25 years of experience in agribusiness.

From 2000 to 2013, Malecha worked at Viterra Inc., a global agribusiness company.

Viterra was acquired by Glencore International plc in 2012, at which time Malecha was named Head of Agricultural Products, North America.

He served as Chief Operating Officer-Grain from 2007 to 2012 and served as Senior Vice President-Grain and Vice President-Grain Merchandising & Transportation from 2000 to 2007.

At Viterra, Malecha’s responsibilities included global grain merchandising, transportation, operations, commodity risk management and international merger and acquisition activity.

Prior to Viterra, Malecha spent 15 years working in the grain division of General Mills, Inc.


Generally speaking, when a top manager announces to step aside with no permanent successor available, it’s a sign that the move was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Fran Malecha’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 48.2018 ($).