Newell Brands CEO Ravi Saligram leaves

  • After less than four years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Saligram
  • Chris Peterson taking over
  • Saligram spoke at length and said 178 words

(exechange) — Atlanta, Georgia, February 10, 2023 — Ravi Saligram, chief executive of Newell Brands, leaves his position. As announced by Newell Brands Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, February 10, 2023, Ravichandra K. (Ravi) Saligram leaves his post as chief executive officer at the consumer goods company, after less than four years in the role, effective May 16, 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.

Ravi Saligram’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Christopher H. (Chris) Peterson, currently President at Newell Brands Inc.

“Robust, deliberate and thoughtful succession planning process”

Ravi Saligram’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Patrick Campbell, Chairman of the Board, stated: “Following a robust, deliberate and thoughtful succession planning process, we are pleased to announce Chris Peterson as Newell Brands’ next CEO.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.4% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (15.7%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (9.5%), 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%), disagreement (1.2%), death (0.9%) and the desire for more time with family (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.9% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Ravi Saligram’s future plans was not immediately available.


Newell Brands said: “Ravi Saligram will retire as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective May 16th, 2023.”

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 executives received Push-out Scores above the critical threshold of 5, indicating elevated pressure.

Share price decline since October 2019

The announcement follows a decline in Newell Brands Inc.’s share price of 22% since October 2019. October 2019 is the month in which Saligram’s tenure as CEO began.

In the position of CEO since 2019

Ravi Saligram became CEO of the Company in 2019.

His bio reads as follows:

  • October 2019 – Present: President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and a member of the Company’s Board of Directors
  • July 2014 – July 2019: Chief Executive Officer and Director of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Incorporated, the world’s largest onsite/online industrial equipment auctioneer
  • November 2010 – November 2013: Chief Executive Officer, President, and a member of the Board of Directors of OfficeMax Inc., where he oversaw the historic 2013 merger of OfficeMax and Office Depot
  • 2003 – November 2010: Various executive management positions with ARAMARK, including President of ARAMARK International; Chief Globalization Officer; and Executive Vice President of ARAMARK
  • 1994 – 2002: Various roles with the InterContinental Hotels Group, including President of Brands and Franchise for North America; Chief Marketing Officer and Managing Director; Global Strategy; President, International; and President, Asia Pacific
  • Prior to 1994: Various general and brand management roles globally at S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. and Account Executive/Media Planner and Buyer at Leo Burnett

Current Board Appointments: Church & Dwight

Former Board Appointments: OfficeMax, Inc. and Ritchie Bros.

178 words by Ravi Saligram

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Newell Brands Inc., Ravi Saligram received praise, thanks and good wishes.

In announcing the leadership change, Ravi Saligram spoke at length and said 178 words.

“Macro headwinds”

Ravi Saligram stated: “It has been a distinct honor leading Newell Brands over the last several years and I am inspired by our talented employees who are passionate, resilient and courageous. I am very proud of our strong, world class executive leadership team who have made significant progress in strengthening the company by reducing complexity, laying the foundation to rejuvenate our key brands while launching innovations that capitalized on pandemic trends, building eCommerce as a competitive advantage and galvanizing our employees to be a force for good. I am confident that they are committed to making Project Phoenix and our new Segment based operating model a major success. I want to congratulate Chris Peterson on his well-deserved elevation to the new CEO of Newell. He has been a true partner to me in the turnaround and I believe he is the right person with the right skill set and right temperament to take Newell to the next level. Despite the macro headwinds the company faces, I am optimistic about the future of Newell Brands and feel our best days are ahead.”

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 110 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 337 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (February 10, 2022, to February 9, 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 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 Newell Brands Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.6, which is well above the critical threshold of 5.

In the consumer discretionary sector, 23 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 Ravi Saligram’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 7.2023 ($).