J.Jill CEO Linda Heasley leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After less than two years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Heasley
  • Jim Scully taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Quincy, Massachusetts, December 5, 2019 — Linda Heasley, chief executive of J.Jill, leaves. As announced by J.Jill Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, December 5, 2019, Linda Heasley has left her post as Chief Executive Officer at the women’s apparel retailer after less than two years in the role, effective December 4, 2019.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 7.5 years, according to data compiled by exechange. On an accumulated basis, around 14% of the CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months left their posts within two years, and 25% left their posts within three years.

J.Jill will undertake a search for a successor.

Linda Heasley’s duties as CEO will be taken over in the interim by James S. (Jim) Scully, a former Chief Operating Officer of Avon Products, Inc., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Already a director

Scully is already a director of J.Jill. Generally speaking, most director-turned-CEO appointments occur following a sudden resignation of the outgoing CEO and signal a lack of preparedness on the company’s part to groom internal talent. On the other hand, directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Scully understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of J.Jill’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“To drive performance”

A reason for Linda Heasley’s departure from the CEO post was not explicitly provided. Michael Rahamim, Chairman of the Board, said: “We are confident in Jim’s ability to drive performance and ensure a seamless transition while we search for J.Jill’s next leader.”

Precise information regarding Linda Heasley’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Stepped down”

J.Jill said: “Linda Heasley has stepped down as President, CEO and a member of the Board of J.Jill, Inc.”

J.Jill further said: “On December 5, 2019, the Company announced that Linda Heasley has stepped down from her current position as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer and her position as a member of the Company’s Board. Ms. Heasley’s resignation from the Board is effective as of December 4, 2019 and, as of such date, Ms. Heasley shall also cease to serve as the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer and any other director and officer position held with any of the Company’s affiliates as of such date.”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in J.Jill, Inc.’s share price of 57% since April 2018.

Chaired by Michael Rahamim

J.Jill, Inc. is chaired by Michael Rahamim.

Michael Rahamim has served as Chairman of the board of directors of J. Jill since the Company’s conversion to a corporation in February 2017 and served as Chairman of the board of directors of the Company’s former parent company since May 2015.

In the position of CEO since 2018

Linda Heasley became CEO of the Company in 2018.

Linda Heasley was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of J.Jill in April 2018 and as President of J.Jill in December 2018 and has served as a director of J.Jill since March 2017.

Heasley previously served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Honey Baked Ham Company, LLC from February 2017 to March 2018.

From February 2013 to September 2016, she was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Lane Bryant, Inc., a division of Ascena Retail Group, Inc., and from October 2016 to February 2017, she was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Plus Fashion Segment, also a division of Ascena Retail Group, Inc.

Prior to that, Heasley served as the Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Limited Stores LLC from August 2007 until February 2013.

She has held senior leadership roles at CVS Health Corporation, Timberland LLC and Limited Brands, Inc. Heasley is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Sally Beauty Holdings, Inc.

Heasley received her M.B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and her A.B. from Harvard University.

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 J.Jill and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 49.2019 ($).