- After less than two and a half years in the position
- Praise and thanks for LaCorte
- Search for a successor
- LaCorte spoke at length and said 198 words
(exechange) — Dublin, California, December 13, 2022 — Blair LaCorte, chief executive of AEye, leaves his position. As announced by AEye Inc. in a news release published on Monday, December 12, 2022, and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, Blair B. LaCorte leaves his post as chief executive officer at the specialist in lidar products, after less than two and a half years in the role, effective February 28, 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.
AEye will undertake a search for a successor.
Blair LaCorte’s move coincides with a management shake-up also involving the position of chief operating officer.
“The company moves into commercialization”
AEye did not give an explicit reason for Blair LaCorte’s departure from the CEO post. Carol DiBattiste, chair of the AEye board of directors, said: “Blair’s stewardship of the company over this time is laudable, which was demonstrated by his ability to assemble a talented and world-class team of leaders; we are confident of a smooth transition in leadership as the company moves into commercialization of its award-winning product.”
The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.2% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.5%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (8.5%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (6.7% of cases), personal reasons (3%) 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 30.2% of cases, no reason was given.
Precise information regarding Blair LaCorte’s future plans was not immediately available.
AEye said: “Blair LaCorte, the CEO of AEye, has decided to transition to a more focused role for the company and informed the board of directors he will be resigning as CEO effective as of February 28, 2023.”
AEye further said: “On December 10, 2022, Blair LaCorte, the Chief Executive Officer of AEye, Inc. (the “Company”), provided written notice to the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) of his intention to resign as Chief Executive Officer and all other officer and subsidiary director positions held by him, other than his position as a member of the Board. Mr. LaCorte’s resignation will be effective as of the close of business on February 28, 2023.”
Generally, resignations are seen as formally voluntary departures. Still, CEOs may also be pressured to resign. In fact, 78% of the time “resign” was used in the past 12 months, the CEO departure received a Push-out Score above the critical threshold of 5, indicating elevated pressure.
“Did not result from any disagreement”
AEye stated, regarding the change: “Mr. LaCorte’s decision to resign did not result from any disagreement with the Company concerning any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies, or practices. Mr. LaCorte assured the Company that he will focus on helping the Company identify, secure and integrate a successor in his remaining time as Chief Executive Officer.”
Share price decline since December 2021
The announcement follows a decline in AEye Inc.’s share price of 84% since December 2021.
In the position of CEO since 2020
Blair LaCorte became CEO of the Company in 2020.
LaCorte will remain on the company’s board of directors and concentrate on ensuring continuity in leadership and working to form new and enhance existing strategic partnerships between the company and its stakeholders.
To ensure a smooth leadership transition, LaCorte has formed the Office of the Chief Executive Officer, which he will chair through the end of February.
In addition to LaCorte, members of the Office of the Chief Executive Officer will be Robert A. Brown, the company’s chief financial officer, Andrew S. Hughes, the company’s general counsel, and T.R. Ramachandran, the company’s chief operating officer.
Blair B. LaCorte has served as a Class III director since the closing of the Transactions, as well as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer.
LaCorte served as AEye Technologies’ Chief Executive Officer and member of AEye Technologies’ Board of Directors from October 2020 to the closing of the Transactions.
LaCorte joined AEye Technologies as an advisory board member in 2016 and was named Chief of Staff and President in 2017.
Prior to joining AEye Technologies, he served as Global President of Production Resource Group, LLC from 2013 through 2016, a live event technology and services company.
From 2010 through 2013, LaCorte served as Chief Executive Officer of XOJET Aviation, an on-demand private jet charter company. He also served as the Managing Director and Operating Partner at TPG Inc., a private equity firm with over $91 billion in global investments.
He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Maine and holds an M.B.A. from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, where he later served as an executive fellow at the Center for Digital Strategies.
198 words by Blair LaCorte
In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of AEye Inc., Blair LaCorte received praise and thanks.
In the announcement of the leadership change, Blair LaCorte spoke at length and said 198 words.
“Solve all of the issues”
Blair LaCorte stated: “Over the past year, T.R. has demonstrated an ability to move the company from the prototype stage to product commercialization, said Blair LaCorte, CEO of AEye. T.R. has an innate ability and the experience to address and solve all of the issues associated with bringing a complex product to market. The company has made significant progress since it went public more than a year ago in August of 2021. In the third quarter, we released our award-winning adaptive software platform and launched a production-intent B sample with our lead automotive customer, Continental, for the Automotive market, as well as our 4Sight™ product for Industrial, as well as Aerospace and Defense, with pilot programs in multiple markets. In addition, we announced the on schedule transfer to manufacturing lines with partners to enable scale production in 2023. Bob, Andrew, and T.R. have each been actively involved in the significant strategic decisions for the company since they joined AEye. With the Office of the Chief Executive Officer in place, the transition to a new CEO will be seamless and allow the company to continue on its path to commercialization of its products designed to make transportation safer for all, without interruption.”
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 328 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 information technology 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 information technology sector, which includes AEye Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.1, which is well above the critical threshold of 5.
In the information technology sector, 18 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 Blair LaCorte’s move determined
The Push-out Score regarding Blair LaCorte’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.
exechange reached out to AEye and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.
Read the full story in the exechange report 51.2022 ($).