Shoals CEO Jason Whitaker leaves for health reasons

  • After less than three years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Whitaker
  • Search for a successor
  • Whitaker said 91 words

(exechange) — Portland, Tennessee, November 30, 2022 — Jason Whitaker, chief executive of Shoals, leaves his position. As announced by Shoals Technologies Group Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, Jason Whitaker leaves his post as chief executive officer at the provider of products for electric vehicle charging infrastructure, after less than three years in the role, effective in early 2023.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.2 years. Around 22% of CEOs left their posts within three years. This is according to data collected by CEO-exit research firm exechange.

exechange tracks CEO departures at the 3,000 largest publicly traded companies in the U.S., examines the reasons CEOs leave and determines the Push‑out Score™, a measure of pressure on departing chief executives on a scale of 0 to 10.

Shoals will undertake a search for a successor.

Health reasons

Jason Whitaker’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Shoals said: “[T]he Company announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Jason Whitaker, has informed the Board of Directors that he intends to step down from his role as Chief Executive Officer for health reasons in early 2023.”

The three most common reasons given for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (24.6% of cases), reference to a planned succession (17.4%) and the statement that now was the right time for a change (9%), according to exechange data. Other reasons given for CEO departures included pursuit of other opportunities (6.2% of cases), personal reasons (3.4%) and conduct issues (2.5%). Rather rarely mentioned departure reasons are health problems (2.2% of cases), career change (2.2%), time with family (0.9%), disagreement (0.6%) and death (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.2% of cases, no reason was given.

“Step down”

Shoals said: “Shoals Technologies Group, Inc. (“Shoals” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: SHLS), a leading provider of electrical balance of system (“EBOS”) solutions for solar, battery storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure, today announced that its Chief Executive Officer, Jason Whitaker, has informed the Board of Directors that he intends to step down from his role as Chief Executive Officer for health reasons in early 2023.”

Share price decline since November 2021

The announcement follows a decline in Shoals Technologies Group Inc.’s share price of 14% since November 2021.

In the position of CEO since 2020

Jason Whitaker became CEO of the Company in 2020.

Whitaker will remain with the Company in an advisory role until mid-March 2023.

Jason Whitaker has been the Company’s Chief Technology Officer from October 2009 to September 2017, President and Chief Technology Officer from September 2017 to December 2019, and President and Chief Executive Officer from January 2020 to date.

Prior to joining the Company, Whitaker served as Co-Owner at Thunder Heart Performance Corp. with varying roles in Operations and Engineering between 1994 and 2009.

Whitaker holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University.

91 words by Jason Whitaker

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Shoals Technologies Group Inc., Jason Whitaker received praise and thanks.

Jason Whitaker said 91 words in the official leadership-change announcement.

“I am proud”

Jason Whitaker stated: “I am proud that I will leave the Company in the best position it has ever been, with more customers, adjusted EBITDA and backlog than at any time in its history. I will work closely with our executive leadership team and Board over the next several months to ensure a smooth transition to the new CEO. It has been an honor to lead Shoals, and I am truly grateful to all of our customers, employees, shareholders, and vendors for their support. None of our success would have been possible without them.”

Over the past 12 months, 26% of all outgoing CEOs remained silent in the departure announcement, according to data compiled by exechange. Departing CEOs who did make a statement said an average of 111 words. The longest statement was 382 words, and the shortest statement was 23 words. Statistically, management changes are associated with high pressure when outgoing CEOs provide conspicuously short, excessively long or no explanations of their move, according to exechange data. In contrast, leadership transitions are statistically associated with low pressure when departing CEOs speak more about their successors than their successes.

31% of CEOs are forced out or fired

When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position.

Of the 322 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (November 30, 2021, to November 29, 2022), the average Push-out Score was 5.5, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When time with family, performance issues or personal reasons were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 31% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.

In other words, in the past 12 months, three in 10 departing CEOs were forced out, fired or stepped down under extreme pressure.

Pressure in the industrials sector well below average

Some industries are under generally higher pressure than others, and CEOs are feeling the strain. In the past 12 months, the communication, consumer staples and health care sectors showed the highest average Push-out Scores. By contrast, pressure on CEOs was lowest in the real estate, industrials and financials sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.

In the industrials sector, which includes Shoals Technologies Group Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 4, which is well below the average.

Nevertheless, even in this sector, some CEOs were compelled to leave their posts under what appeared to be severe stress. In the industrials sector, 10 exiting CEOs received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher over the past 12 months, indicating that they were forced out or stepped down under extreme pressure.

Push-out Score for Jason Whitaker not determined

When the reason for the departure is health-related, a Push-out Score™ is not determined.

Read the full story in the exechange report 49.2022 ($).