Whole Earth CEO Albert Manzone leaves

  • After about two and a half years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Manzone
  • Michael Franklin taking over temporarily
  • Manzone said 77 words

(exechange) — Chicago, Illinois, December 13, 2022 — Albert Manzone, chief executive of Whole Earth, leaves his position — as “mutually agreed.” As announced by Whole Earth Brands Inc. in a news release published on Monday, December 12, 2022, and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, Albert Manzone leaves his post as chief executive officer at the food company, after about two and a half years in the role, effective January 1, 2023.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.3 years. Around 23% 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.

Albert Manzone’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Michael Franklin, currently Partner at Mariposa Capital LLC, as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Already a director

Franklin has already been a member of the board of directors of Whole Earth. 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. 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, Franklin understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Whole Earth’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“To pursue other business opportunities”

Albert Manzone’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Whole Earth said: “Chief Executive Officer Albert Manzone will step down as CEO and member of the Whole Earth Brands Board of Directors (the “Board”) to pursue other business opportunities, effective January 1, 2023.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.3% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.5%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (8.6%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (6.4% of cases), personal reasons (3.1%) and conduct issues (2.4%). Rather rarely stated reasons are health problems (2.1% of cases), career change (2.1%), the desire for more 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 Albert Manzone’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Step down”

Whole Earth said: “Whole Earth Brands, Inc., a Delaware corporation (the “Company”), announced that the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) and its Chief Executive Officer and a member of its Board, Albert Manzone, have mutually agreed that Mr. Manzone will step down from his capacity as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board, effective January 1, 2023.”

Share price decline since December 2021

The announcement follows a decline in Whole Earth Brands Inc.’s share price of 59% since December 2021.

In the position of CEO since 2020

Albert Manzone became CEO of the Company in 2020.

After January 1, 2023, Manzone will assist the Company and Franklin in the orderly transition through February 28, 2023.

Manzone will continue as a non-executive employee of the Company through February 28, 2023, and thereafter through September 1, 2023, Manzone will assist to facilitate a smooth transition of duties and with certain other responsibilities.

Albert Manzone has served as Chief Executive Officer and a Director of the Company since June 2020.

Before leading the Company as CEO, Manzone served the company for four years as Chief Executive Officer of its subsidiary, Flavors Holdings Inc. (“Flavors Holdings”).

His career also includes serving as President, Europe at Oettinger Davidoff AG.; President of Consumer Health, Southeast Europe at Novartis; President, Europe at W.M. Wrigley Jr. Company; and over a decade in global executive leadership roles at PepsiCo in North America and International, including President, PepsiCo Shelf Stable Juices North America.

Manzone has a long history of giving back to the communities that have contributed to his success, and he serves as Trustee of the Northwestern University Board and President-Elect of the Northwestern Alumni Association.

He is also the Director of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for the Environment, and Director of Monaco Digital in Monaco on behalf of the Principality of Monaco.

77 words by Albert Manzone

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Whole Earth Brands Inc., Albert Manzone received praise and thanks.

In the announcement of the leadership change, Albert Manzone said 77 words.

“Wish the team continued success”

Albert Manzone stated: “I am very proud of what our team at Whole Earth Brands has been able to accomplish, and I am confident in their ability to drive continued growth in the exciting sweetener category. I have enjoyed working with Mr. Franklin since he joined the Board and I look forward to assisting him as he transitions into his new role. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to lead this great Company and wish the team 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 109 words. The longest statement was 382 words. The shortest statement was 23 words. Leadership transitions in which departing CEOs provide conspicuously short, excessively long or no explanations for their move are statistically associated with elevated pressure and show an increased incidence of Push-out Scores above the critical threshold of 5. In contrast, leadership changes 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, with 0 being most likely a voluntary move and 10 being most likely a forced exit. Anything over a 5 indicates that there are valid reasons to believe an executive may have been pushed out.

Of the 327 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (December 13, 2021, to December 12, 2022), the average Push-out Score was 5.6, 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 other opportunities 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 staples sector well above the critical threshold

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 consumer staples sector, which includes Whole Earth Brands Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.5, which is well above the critical threshold of 5.

In the consumer staples sector, five exiting CEOs received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher over the past 12 months, indicating that they were most likely forced out or faced strong pressure to step down.

Push-out Score for Albert Manzone’s move determined

The Push-out Score regarding Albert Manzone’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 51.2022 ($).