22nd Century CEO Cliff Fleet leaves for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After less than half a year in the position
  • Thanks for Fleet
  • Responsibilities redistributed
  • Fleet said 100 words

(exechange) — Williamsville, New York, December 13, 2019 — Cliff Fleet, chief executive of 22nd Century, leaves. As announced by 22nd Century Group Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, December 13, 2019, Clifford B. (Cliff) Fleet leaves his post as Chief Executive Officer at the plant biotechnology company after less than half a year in the role, effective December 31, 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 7.6 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Around 5% of the CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months left their posts within their first year. On an accumulated basis, around 15% left their posts within two years, and 26% left their posts within three years.

Following Cliff Fleet’s departure, the position of Chief Executive Officer will not be filled for the time being. Cliff Fleet’s responsibilities are being redistributed.

Fleet will be leader at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

“Cliff has been called to service to lead The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, which is charged with the stewardship of Colonial Williamsburg, a national, historical treasure,” James W. Cornell, Director & Chairman of the Board of 22nd Century Group said.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is a living-history museum.

“Step away/resigned”

“Today we are announcing several management changes,” Cornell continued.  “First, Cliff Fleet has decided to step away from the role of CEO of 22nd Century while continuing to remain actively engaged in the Company’s leadership as a member of our Board.”

22nd Century further said: “On December 13, 2019, Clifford B. Fleet resigned as the President and Chief Executive Officer of 22nd Century Group, Inc. (the “Company”), effective December 31, 2019, in order to accept a leadership position at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.”

“Not the result of any disagreement”

“Mr. Fleet’s resignation is not the result of any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices,” 22nd Century said.

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in 22nd Century Group, Inc.’s share price of 58% since October 2019.

Chaired by James W. Cornell

22nd Century Group, Inc. is chaired by James W. Cornell.

Cornell has served as Chairman of the Board since October 2014 and as a director since March 4, 2011. Cornell is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Praxiis, LLC, an enterprise that provides support for clients in organizational change, leadership development and transactional advisory services.

In the position of CEO since 2019

Cliff Fleet became CEO of the Company in 2019.

Effective August 3, 2019, the Board of Directors of the Company appointed Clifford B. Fleet as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company.

In addition, Fleet was appointed to the Company’s Board of Directors as a Class I Director for a term to expire in 2021.

Fleet has served as a strategic advisor to the Company since December 2018.

Prior to such time, Fleet served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Philip Morris USA (“PM USA”) from 2013 to 2017, where he oversaw PM USA and John Middleton, a leading manufacturer of machine-made cigars.

Since departing PM USA in 2017, Fleet has supported numerous businesses and non-profits as a Managing Partner at SIR, a strategic management consultancy based in Richmond, VA.

At the time of Cliff Fleet’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer at 22nd Century, James W. Cornell, Director & Chairman of the Board of 22nd Century Group, stated: “We are extremely pleased that Cliff has agreed to lead 22nd Century as its President and CEO. The Board has had the pleasure of working closely with Cliff over the past several months, and it is clear that he is the right person to lead the Company forward. He has led the development of the Company’s new vision and forward-looking strategies to vigorously pursue the enormous opportunities in the hemp/cannabis space. Cliff is a clear and strategic thinker, trustworthy partner and proven team builder ready to lead 22nd Century to new heights Cliff’s decades of tobacco-industry experience have been and will continue to be invaluable in gaining FDA approval for the Company’s Modified Risk Tobacco Product application and the subsequent commercialization of 22nd Century’s proprietary VLNC cigarettes.”

At the time of his appointment as Chief Executive Officer at 22nd Century, Fleet said: “I am honored to join 22nd Century Group as its President and CEO. I have truly enjoyed working with the Company’s talented Board and executive team over the past several months. The Company’s efforts in tobacco-harm reduction are coming to fruition, and it is extremely well-positioned to expand its leadership position in the emerging and fast-growing industry of hemp/cannabis. There are enormous opportunities to drive significant value creation in the hemp/cannabis space. I look forward to strengthening the Company’s leadership position in hemp/cannabis biotechnology and plant genetics, and then leverage this strength with opportunities across the hemp/cannabis value chain to create significant long-term value for our shareholders.”

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 22nd Century and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 50.2019 ($).