Comerica CEO Ralph Babb leaves his post

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After around 17 years in the position
  • Curt Farmer taking over
  • Babb will remain as executive chairman at Comerica
  • Babb kept it short and said 54 words

(exechange) — Dallas, Texas, April 23, 2019 — Ralph Babb, chief executive of Comerica, leaves the position. As announced by Comerica Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, April 23, 2019, Ralph W. Babb leaves his post as chief executive officer at the financial services company after around 17 years in the role, effective immediately.

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 7.7 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 10 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position after more than 15 years.

Ralph Babb’s duties will be taken over by Curtis C. (Curt) Farmer, most recently president of Comerica Incorporated.

No reason given

In the announcement, Comerica did not explicitly explain the reason for Ralph Babb’s move.

Babb will remain as Executive Chairman at Comerica

“Ralph W. Babb, Jr. has been named Executive Chairman of Comerica and Comerica Bank, effective April 23, 2019,” Comerica said.

Comerica said: “Mr. Babb ceased to hold the additional title of Chief Executive Officer of Comerica and Comerica Bank as of April 23, 2019, the effective date of Mr. Farmer’s promotion.”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in Comerica Incorporated’s share price of 23 percent since March 2018.

In the position of CEO since 2002

Babb has been Chief Executive Officer (since January 2002), Chairman (since October 2002), President (January 2002 to April 2015), Chief Financial Officer (June 1995 to April 2002) and Vice Chairman (March 1999 to January 2002) of Comerica Incorporated and Comerica Bank.

Before joining Comerica, Babb served as the vice chairman for Mercantile Bancorporation Inc. after years of service with Peat Marwick Mitchell & Co. (an accounting firm).

Additionally, Babb has been a director of Texas Instruments Inc. since March 2010.

He served as a member of the Federal Reserve Board Advisory Council from September 2013 to December 2017.

Babb led the successful execution of the Company’s enterprise-wide GEAR Up initiative, lowering Comerica’s 2018 efficiency ratio below 54% and raising 2018 return on equity to almost 16%.

He also led an overall enhancement of Comerica’s risk governance structure, with a focus on mitigating risk across the Company, including credit, market, liquidity, operational, compliance and cybersecurity.

Farmer will continue reporting to Babb, and both Farmer and Babb will continue serving as members of the Comerica Incorporated Board of Directors and the Comerica Bank Board of Directors.

In addition, as Executive Chairman, Babb will continue to chair the Comerica Incorporated Board of Directors and the Comerica Bank Board of Directors.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding the management change on a scale of 0 to 10.

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 17.2019 ($).