Independent Bank CEO Chris Oddleifson leaves

  • After about 20 years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Oddleifson
  • Jeff Tengel taking over
  • Oddleifson kept it short and said 57 words

(exechange) — Rockland, Massachusetts, January 11, 2023 — Chris Oddleifson, chief executive of Independent Bank, leaves his position. As announced by Independent Bank Corp. in a news release published on Monday, January 9, 2023, and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, January 11, 2023, Christopher (Chris) Oddleifson leaves his post as chief executive officer at the holding company for Rockland Trust Company, after about 20 years in the role, effective on or about February 6, 2023.

It is the end of an era.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.3 years. Around 7% of CEOs left their posts after more than 20 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.

Chris Oddleifson’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Jeffrey J. (Jeff) Tengel, most recently Senior Executive Vice President, Head of Commercial Specialty Banking at M&T Bank.

The fact that Chris Oddleifson’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

“Thoughtful, thorough CEO succession planning process”

Chris Oddleifson’s planned departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Independent Bank stated: “The appointment of Tengel is the culmination of a thoughtful, thorough CEO succession planning process that involved a nationwide search. A special committee of the Board, comprised of independent directors, oversaw CEO succession planning, assisted by a preeminent leadership consulting firm. Following Tengel’s formal appointment as CEO, Oddleifson will remain with Rockland Trust in an executive advisory role until the end of 2023.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.9% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (8.3%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (6.2% 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%), death (0.9%) and disagreement (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.8% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Chris Oddleifson’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Step down”

Independent Bank said: “Mr. Tengel will succeed Christopher Oddleifson, who notified the Board on January 6, 2023 of his intention to step down as President and Chief Executive Officer of Independent effective as of the CEO Succession Date [i.e., on or about February 6, 2023].”

Independent Bank further said: “Additionally, effective as of the CEO Succession Date, Mr. Tengel will replace Mr. Oddleifson as Chief Executive Officer of Rockland Trust, and will also be appointed as a member of the Rockland Trust Board of Directors.”

“Not related to any disagreement”

Independent Bank stated, regarding the change: “The decision of Mr. Oddleifson to step down is not related to any disagreement between Mr. Oddleifson and Independent.”

Share price increase since January 2018

The announcement follows an increase in Independent Bank Corp.’s share price of 17% since January 2018.

In the position of CEO since 2003

Chris Oddleifson became CEO of the Company in 2003.

Oddleifson will continue to serve as a Class III Director of Independent and as a Rockland Trust Director.

Oddleifson does not intend to stand for reelection as a director when his current terms expire in 2023.

On the CEO Succession Date, Oddleifson will transition into an executive advisory role through July 8, 2023, upon which date he will retire as an employee from Independent and thereafter serve as a consultant to Independent through December 31, 2023.

Oddleifson has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and as the Chief Executive Officer of Rockland Trust since 2003.

Oddleifson was also the President of Rockland Trust from 2003 to 2017.

From 1998 to 2002, Oddleifson was President of First Union Home Equity Bank, a national banking subsidiary of First Union Corporation in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Until its acquisition by First Union, Oddleifson was the Executive Vice President, responsible for Consumer Banking, for Signet Bank in Richmond, Virginia.

He has also worked as a management consultant for Booz, Allen and Hamilton in Atlanta, Georgia.

Oddleifson has served as a director of the Company and of Rockland Trust since 2003.

57 words by Chris Oddleifson

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Independent Bank Corp., Chris Oddleifson received accolades, praise and thanks.

In the announcement of the leadership change, Chris Oddleifson kept it short and said 57 words.

“The time has come”

Chris Oddleifson stated: “What an honor it has been to serve as Rockland Trust’s CEO. After leading Rockland Trust for over twenty years, I have decided that the time has come to pass the baton. I am thrilled that our Board of Directors has selected a successor with the caliber of Jeff Tengel to guide Rockland Trust into the future.”

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.

33% 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 338 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (January 11, 2022, to January 10, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 5.7, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When performance issues, time with family or other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 33% 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, one in three departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Pressure in the financials sector substantially below the critical threshold

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

In the financials sector, which includes Independent Bank Corp., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 4.3, which is substantially below the critical threshold of 5.

Nevertheless, even in this sector, some CEOs were compelled to leave their posts under what appeared to be severe stress. In the financials sector, 11 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 Chris Oddleifson’s move determined

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

exechange reached out to Independent Bank and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 3.2023 ($).