VSE CEO Mo Gauthier leaves at short notice

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After 11 years in the position
  • Praise and good wishes for Gauthier
  • John Cuomo taking over
  • Gauthier said 74 words

(exechange) — Alexandria, Virginia, March 19, 2019 — Mo Gauthier, chief executive of VSE, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by VSE Corp. in a news release published on Monday, March 18, 2019 and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, Maurice A. (Mo) Gauthier leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the technical services company after 11 years in the role, effective April 14, 2019.

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 8.1 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 31 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position after more than 10 years.

Mo Gauthier’s duties will be taken over by John A. Cuomo, most recently Vice President and General Manager of Boeing Distribution Services Inc.

It is a generational change as well. John Cuomo is about 25 years younger than Mo Gauthier.

The fact that Mo Gauthier’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.

“Pursue new career opportunities”

Mo Gauthier’s imminent departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. VSE said: “While Mr. Gauthier will pursue new career opportunities outside of VSE’s business areas, he is committed to ensuring a successful transition for the new CEO.”

The phrase “pursue new career opportunities” opens the door to speculation.

Precise information regarding Mo Gauthier’s future plans was not immediately available.

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for investors when a CEO leaves the post at short notice and without an understandable explanation.

“Step down/resign”

VSE said: “Chief Executive Officer (CEO), President and member of the Board of Directors, Maurice “Mo” Gauthier, will step down next month as a company officer and director after 11 years of dedicated service.”

VSE further said: “Effective as of April 14, 2019, Maurice A. Gauthier will resign as a director, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Operating Officer of VSE.”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in VSE Corporation’s share price of 45 percent since October 2017.

Chaired by Calvin Koonce

VSE Corporation is chaired by Calvin Koonce.

He has been a director of VSE since 1992 and has previously served as Chairman of the Audit Committee and Chairman of Nominating & Corporate Governance Committee during his tenure.

In the position of CEO since 2008

Mo Gauthier has been VSE Chief Executive Officer, President and Chief Operating Officer since April 2008.

Gauthier retired in 1997 as a Navy Captain after 28 years of military service.

Gauthier worked for VSE from October 1997 through February 1999 as Vice President and Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development, before joining the Nichols Research Corporation as President of its Navy Group.

With the acquisition of Nichols Research Corporation by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) in 1999, Gauthier served as a CSC Vice President and General Manager until rejoining VSE in 2008.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the likelihood that Mo Gauthier was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position.

exechange reached out to VSE and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 12.2019 ($).