Advantage CEO Jill Griffin leaves

  • After less than one year in the position
  • Thanks and good wishes for Griffin
  • Dave Peacock taking over

(exechange) — Irvine, California, January 18, 2023 — Jill Griffin, chief executive of Advantage, leaves her position. As announced by Advantage Solutions Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, Jill Griffin has left her post as chief executive officer at the provider of outsourced sales and marketing services to consumer goods manufacturers and retailers, after less than one year in the role, effective January 16, 2023.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.3 years. Around 5% of CEOs left their posts within their first year. 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.

Jill Griffin’s duties as CEO will be taken over by David (Dave) Peacock, most recently Chief Operating Officer at Continental Grain Company.

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

In general, an outsider does not have the constraints of an insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions.

Tanya Domier, the current Chair of the Board and former Chief Executive Officer of the Company, has agreed to serve as Interim Principal Executive Officer until February 1, 2023.

“To pursue other business endeavors”

Jill Griffin’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Advantage stated: “Peacock will succeed Jill Griffin, who resigned and has elected to pursue other business endeavors.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (27% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.1%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (8.8%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (5.9% of cases), personal reasons (2.9%) and conduct issues (2.3%). Rather rarely stated reasons are health problems (2.1% of cases), career change (2.1%), death (0.9%), the desire for more time with family (0.6%) and disagreement (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.8% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Jill Griffin’s future plans was not immediately available.


Advantage further said: “On January 16, 2023, Jill Griffin informed the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Advantage Solutions Inc. (the “Company”) that she resigned as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and as member of the Company’s board of directors (the “Board”), effective January 16, 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 CEO departure announcements over the past 12 months, the departing chief executive received a Push-out Score above the critical threshold of 5, indicating elevated pressure.

Share price decline since April 2022

The announcement follows a decline in Advantage Solutions Inc.’s share price of 64% since April 2022.

April 2022 is the month in which Griffin’s tenure as CEO began.

In the position of CEO since 2022

Jill Griffin became CEO of the Company in 2022.

Jill Griffin has served as a director and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and the Chief Executive Officer of Topco since April 1, 2022.

Prior to this, Griffin served as Advantage’s President and Chief Commercial Officer since April 1, 2019.

She served on the board of directors of Topco from January 2019 to the closing of the Transactions.

Previously, she was Advantage’s President of Marketing leading the Advantage Marketing Partners line of business since January 2010, after previously serving as the company’s President of Experiential Marketing from February 2008 to January 2010.

From February 2007 to February 2008, Griffin served as the President of the Interactive Publishing division of Navarre Corporation, a public distribution and publishing company.

She held various leadership roles with such business from 1998 to 2007 both before and after it was acquired by Navarre Corporation in 2002.

Griffin began her career with TMP Worldwide, a recruitment advertising agency, in a business development and client service role.

Griffin received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota and her B.S. from the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management.

She was recognized as one of Progressive Grocer’s “Top Women in Grocery” in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017 and inducted into its Hall of Fame in 2018.

Griffin also serves on the Global Retail Marketing Association Advisory Board.

At the time of Jill Griffin’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer at Advantage, she had stated: “I’m delighted and honored for the opportunity to serve as the CEO of Advantage and build on Tanya’s amazing legacy. We have a broad portfolio of sales, marketing and digital services touching every part of the shopper journey, a proven value creation model and a sound strategy for further evolution. But what makes Advantage truly special is how our talented associates uniquely combine our capabilities in new ways to solve challenges for our clients, customers and the marketplace.”

At the time of Jill Griffin’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer at Advantage, Jim Kilts, then Board Chair, had these words of praise for Griffin: “Jill has been a core part of the Advantage leadership team for the last 14 years, working closely with Tanya and team to build the business over the years and execute our current strategy. She is an outstanding steward of the business and a tremendous strategist and the company will benefit from her ongoing leadership. We’re excited for her and the company’s future.”

No statement by Jill Griffin

In the news release announcing her departure as CEO of Advantage Solutions Inc., Jill Griffin received thanks and good wishes.

The announcement of her departure as CEO does not include a statement by Jill Griffin.

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 108 words. The longest statement was 382 words. The shortest statement was 23 words. Leadership transitions in which departing CEOs provide conspicuously short 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, according to exechange data.

34% 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 341 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (January 18, 2022, to January 17, 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 time with family, performance issues or other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 34% 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 communication sector far 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 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 communication sector, which includes Advantage Solutions Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 7.1, which is far above the critical threshold of 5.

In the communication sector, seven 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.

Closer look at female CEOs

Female CEOs in the U.S. have been found to be more likely to be pushed out than male CEOs. Over the past 12 months, outgoing female CEOs have received an average Push-out Score of 6.5, considerably above the average Push-out Score of 5.7 for outgoing male CEOs.

Female CEOs have a 38% shorter tenure. Women in the role step down after an average tenure of 5.3 years, compared with 8.6 years for men, the exechange data shows, which covers 26 departing female CEOs and 315 departing male CEOs.

On a five-year view, departing female CEOs received an average Push-out Score of 5.8, which was significantly higher than the average Push-out Score of 5.3 for departing male CEOs. This suggests that women were more likely to be pushed out than men, even when using a longer observation period. This is evident from exechange data covering 1,403 CEO departures (84 of them women and 1,319 men) from 2017 to 2021. Female CEOs who announced their departure from 2017 to 2021 had a 26% shorter tenure, exiting after an average of 6.6 years, compared with 8.9 years for men, the exechange data shows.

Push-out Score for Jill Griffin’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 4.2023 ($).