- After almost eight years in the position
- Praise for Benjamin
- Lance Parker taking over
- Benjamin said 64 words
(exechange) — Honolulu, Hawaii, February 1, 2023 — Chris Benjamin, chief executive of Alexander & Baldwin, leaves his position. As announced by Alexander & Baldwin Inc. in a news release on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, Christopher J. (Chris) Benjamin leaves his post as chief executive officer at the commercial real estate company, after almost eight years in the role, effective June 30, 2023.
The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.5 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 Benjamin’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Lance K. Parker, currently president & chief operating officer at Alexander & Baldwin Inc.
“His long-term intent to retire at age 60”
Chris Benjamin’s planned departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Eric Yeaman, A&B’s chairman of the Board, stated: “When Chris became CEO, his mandate was to transform A&B from a diversified conglomerate to a focused commercial real estate company. He accomplished this goal and, in the process, assembled the strongest real estate team in the state. Consistent with his long-term intent to retire at age 60, he is handing the reins to that team to lead A&B into the future.”
The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (27.1% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.2%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (9.1%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (5.6% of cases), personal reasons (3.2%) and conduct issues (2.1%). Rather rarely stated reasons are career change (2.1% of cases), health problems (1.8%), death (0.9%), the desire for more time with family (0.6%) and disagreement (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.7% of cases, no reason was given.
Precise information regarding Chris Benjamin’s future plans was not immediately available.
Alexander & Baldwin said: “Parker will succeed CEO Christopher J. Benjamin who will retire on June 30 but serve as a consultant through the end of 2023 to ensure a smooth transition and complete various aspects of A&B’s simplification strategy.”
Generally, retirements are seen as formally voluntary departures. Still, CEOs may also be pressured to accelerate their retirement plans. In fact, 34% of the time “retire” 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.
Companies often provide less precise information in their corporate announcements than in regulatory filings, which are sometimes published with a considerable delay and therefore cannot always be included in the exechange analysis. In the present case, a regulatory filing regarding Chris Benjamin’s move was not available at the time of the analysis.
Share price decline since January 2016
The announcement follows a decline in Alexander & Baldwin Inc.’s share price of 42% since January 2016. January 2016 is the month in which Benjamin’s tenure as CEO began.
In the position of CEO since 2016
Chris Benjamin became CEO of the Company in 2016.
His bio reads as follows:
- Chief Executive Officer and Director of A&B since January 2016
- President of A&B since June 2012
- Chief Operating Officer of A&B from June 2012 through December 2015
- President of A&B Land Group from September 2011 through June 2012
- President of A & B Properties, Inc. from September 2011 through August 2015
- Senior Vice President of A&B Predecessor from July 2005 through August 2011
- Chief Financial Officer of A&B Predecessor from February 2004 through August 2011
- Treasurer of A&B Predecessor from May 2006 through August 2011
- Plantation General Manager of Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company from March 2009 through March 2011.
64 words by Chris Benjamin
In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Alexander & Baldwin Inc., Chris Benjamin received praise.
In announcing the leadership change, Chris Benjamin said 64 words.
Chris Benjamin stated: “We have accomplished a great deal in transitioning A&B from a diversified operating business to a focused real estate company. I’m particularly proud of our focus on Hawai`i and our commitment to the local community. With a stellar team of real estate experts in place under the leadership of Lance Parker, I am confident in A&B’s trajectory as a Hawai`i commercial real estate company.”
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 510 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.
35% 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 339 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (February 1, 2022, to January 31, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 5.8, 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 35% 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 real estate 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 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, utilities and financials sectors, as measured by average Push-out Scores.
In the real estate sector, which includes Alexander & Baldwin Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 4.1, 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 real estate sector, three 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 Benjamin’s move determined
The Push-out Score regarding Chris Benjamin’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.
exechange reached out to Alexander & Baldwin and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.
Read the full story in the exechange report 6.2023 ($).