Vista Outdoor CEO Chris Metz leaves

  • After about five and a half years in the position
  • Praise and good wishes for Metz
  • Gary McArthur taking over temporarily
  • Search for a successor
  • Metz kept it short and said 60 words

(exechange) — Anoka, Minnesota, February 2, 2023 — Chris Metz, chief executive of Vista Outdoor, leaves his position. As announced by Vista Outdoor Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, February 2, 2023, Christopher T. (Chris) Metz has left his post as chief executive officer at the parent company of brands that manufacture sporting and outdoor products, after about five and a half years in the role, effective February 1, 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.

Vista Outdoor will undertake a search for a successor.

Chris Metz’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Gary L. McArthur, a former Chief Financial Officer at CH2M Hill, as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Already a director

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

“Loss of confidence in his leadership”

Chris Metz’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Vista Outdoor stated: “Mr. McArthur succeeds Chris Metz, who agreed to resign as CEO and director at the request of the Vista Outdoor Board based on the Board’s loss of confidence in his leadership for reasons not involving financial reporting or internal controls.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.6% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.6%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (9.2%), 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 (3.3%) 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 30.8% of cases, no reason was given.

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


Vista Outdoor said: “On February 2, 2023, the Board of Directors of Vista Outdoor Inc. (“Vista Outdoor” or the “Company”) announced that Christopher T. Metz has resigned, effective as of February 1, 2023, from his position as Chief Executive Officer and as a director of the Company at the request of the Board based on the Board’s loss of confidence in his leadership for reasons not involving financial reporting or internal controls.”

“Not related to any disagreement”

Vista Outdoor stated, regarding the change: “The Board’s request for Mr. Metz to resign was determined in the Board’s discretion to be the best path for Vista Outdoor after the consideration of a number of alternatives. Mr. Metz’s resignation as a director of the Company is not related to any disagreement on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices.”

Share price increase since October 2017

The announcement follows an increase in Vista Outdoor Inc.’s share price of 27% since October 2017. October 2017 is the month in which Metz’s tenure as CEO began.

In the position of CEO since 2017

Chris Metz became CEO of the Company in 2017.

Metz has served as a director and the Company’s Chief Executive Officer since October 2017.

Prior to joining Vista Outdoor, Metz served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Arctic Cat Inc., a manufacturer of all-terrain vehicles, recreational off-road vehicles and snowmobiles, from December 2014 to March 2017.

Prior to Arctic Cat, he served as a Managing Director of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. (“Sun Capital”), a global private equity firm, from 2005 to July 2014.

Prior to joining Sun Capital, Metz worked for Black & Decker, a manufacturer of power tools, accessories, hardware, home improvement products, and technology based fastening systems, for over 13 years, serving in a variety of capacities, including President of its Hardware and Home Improvement Group from 1999 to 2005.

Metz currently serves on the boards of Central Garden & Pet Company; a producer and distributor of lawn, garden, and pet supplies.

Metz also serves on the corporate advisory council for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and the industry trade association board of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

60 words by Chris Metz

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Vista Outdoor Inc., Chris Metz received praise and good wishes.

In announcing the leadership change, Chris Metz kept it short and said 60 words.

“I stand fully behind the planned separation”

Chris Metz stated: “It has been an honor to lead Vista Outdoor for the last six years. Vista Outdoor has an excellent team of dedicated employees who will continue to drive the Company’s future success. I stand fully behind the planned separation of the Outdoor and Sporting Products segments into two strong, standalone businesses and believe the Company has a bright future ahead.”

Over the past 12 months, 25% 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.

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 338 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (February 2, 2022, to February 1, 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 consumer discretionary 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, 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 consumer discretionary sector, which includes Vista Outdoor 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 discretionary sector, 22 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 Metz’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 6.2023 ($).