- After about six years in the position
- Praise, thanks and good wishes for Rendle
- Benno Dorer taking over temporarily
- Search for a successor
- Rendle kept it short and said 50 words
(exechange) — Denver, Colorado, December 5, 2022 — Steve Rendle, chief executive of VF, leaves his position — “by mutual agreement with the Board.” As announced by VF Corp. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, December 5, 2022, Steven E. (Steve) Rendle has left his post as chief executive officer at the apparel and footwear company, after about six years in the role, effective December 2, 2022.
The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.2 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.
VF will undertake a search for a successor.
Steve Rendle’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Benno Dorer, most recently Lead Independent Director at VF Corp., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.
Having been a director, Dorer understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of VF’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.
“Drive profitable growth”
VF did not give an explicit reason for Steve Rendle’s departure from the CEO post. Dorer said: “I look forward to working closely with the Board and VF’s Executive Leadership Team to drive profitable growth across our portfolio while the Board identifies the right leader for the company’s next chapter.”
The three most common reasons given for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (24.8% of cases), reference to a planned succession (17%) and the statement that now was the right time for a change (8.7%), according to exechange data. Other reasons given for CEO departures included pursuit of other opportunities (6.5% of cases), personal reasons (3.4%) and conduct issues (2.5%). Rather rarely mentioned departure reasons are health problems (2.5% 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 30.3% of cases, no reason was given.
Precise information regarding Steve Rendle’s future plans was not immediately available.
VF said: “Dorer’s appointment follows Steve Rendle’s decision to retire from his position as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer.”
VF further said: “On December 2, 2022, the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of V. F. Corporation (the “Company”) appointed Benno Dorer, a member of the Board, as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, effective immediately. Mr. Dorer succeeds Steven E. Rendle, who, by mutual agreement with the Board, retired as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and Chairman of the Board on the same date, effective immediately.”
Generally, retirements are seen as formally voluntary departures. Still, CEOs may also be pressured to accelerate their retirement plans. In fact, 31% of the time “retire” was used in the past 12 months, the CEO departure received a Push-out Score above the critical threshold of 5, indicating elevated pressure.
Share price decline since December 2019
The announcement follows a decline in VF Corp.’s share price of 62% since December 2019.
In the position of CEO since 2017
Steve Rendle became CEO of the Company in 2017.
Rendle has served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of VF since October 2017.
He has also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of VF since January 2017.
Rendle was elected a director of VF in June 2015. He served as President and Chief Operating Officer from June 2015 until December 2016.
He served as Senior Vice President – Americas from April 2014 until June 2015 and as Vice President and Group President – Outdoor & Action Sports Americas from May 2011 until April 2014.
Rendle joined VF in 1999 and has held a progression of leadership roles within VF since that time.
Rendle has also served as a director of Best Buy Co., Inc. since March 2021.
50 words by Steve Rendle
In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of VF Corp., Steve Rendle received praise, thanks and good wishes.
Steve Rendle kept it short and said 50 words in the official leadership-change announcement.
“I depart with the deepest gratitude”
Steve Rendle stated: “It has been an honor to lead VF as CEO over the last five years. I depart with the deepest gratitude for the extremely talented and dedicated global team at VF. I remain as confident as ever in VF’s tremendous potential and look forward to watching the company’s continued success.”
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.
32% 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 323 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (December 5, 2021, to December 4, 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 32% 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 or fired.
Pressure in the consumer discretionary sector substantially above average
Some industries are under generally higher pressure than others, and CEOs are feeling the strain. In the past 12 months, the communication, health care and consumer staples 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 consumer discretionary sector, which includes VF Corp., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.1, which is substantially above the average.
In the consumer discretionary sector, 21 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 Steve Rendle’s move determined
The Push-out Score regarding Steve Rendle’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.
exechange reached out to VF and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.
Read the full story in the exechange report 50.2022 ($).