SBA CEO Jeff Stoops to leave post

  • After 22 years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Stoops
  • Brendan Cavanagh taking over
  • Stoops will remain as non-executive Chairman at SBA
  • Stoops made a lengthy statement and said 227 words

(exechange) — Boca Raton, Florida, February 21, 2023 — This news came shortly after Presidents’ Day. Jeff Stoops, chief executive of SBA, is set to leave his position. His upcoming departure is made public at an early stage. As announced by SBA Communications Corp. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, February 21, 2023, Jeffrey A. (Jeff) Stoops leaves his post as chief executive officer at the owner and operator of communications infrastructure, after 22 years in the role, effective December 31, 2023.

It is the end of an era.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.5 years. Around 8% 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.

Long goodbye

It is a long goodbye. The announcement of Jeff Stoops’s move comes up to 10 months prior to his planned departure from the post of CEO.

In general, a top executive who announces the departure particularly early may be considered a lame duck.

Jeff Stoops’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Brendan Cavanagh, currently Chief Financial Officer at SBA Communications Corp.

The Company intends to appoint its next Chief Financial Officer later this year.

“The time has come”

Jeff Stoops’s planned departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Stoops stated: “The time has come to turn the leadership of SBA over to the next generation.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.1% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (9.8%), 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%), the desire for more time with family (0.9%) and death (0.9%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 30.3% of cases, no reason was given.

Stoops will remain as non-executive Chairman at SBA

SBA stated: “Mr. Stoops shall remain on the Company’s Board of Directors, and upon his retirement shall assume the position of non-executive Chairman of the Board.”


SBA said: “Jeff Stoops will retire from his positions as President and Chief Executive Officer on December 31, 2023.”

SBA further said: “On February 17, 2023, Mr. Jeffrey Stoops, President and Chief Executive Officer of SBA Communications Corporation (the “Company”), provided notice of his intent to retire from his position as President and Chief Executive Officer on December 31, 2023.”

Generally, retirements are seen as formally voluntary departures. Still, CEOs may also be pressured to accelerate their retirement plans. In fact, 35% 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 increase since February 2018

The announcement follows an increase in SBA Communications Corp.’s share price of 61% since February 2018.

In the position of CEO since 2002

Jeff Stoops became CEO of the Company in 2002.

Stoops joined SBA in April 1997 and has served as a director of SBA since August 1999.

Stoops was appointed Chief Executive Officer effective as of January 2002, President in April 2000, and previously served as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer.

Stoops has served on the Board of Directors of Custom Truck One Source, Inc., a specialty equipment company, from July 2019 to June 2021.

227 words by Jeff Stoops

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of SBA Communications Corp., Jeff Stoops received accolades, praise and thanks.

In announcing the leadership change, Jeff Stoops made a lengthy statement and said 227 words.

“My partner and right-hand for many years”

Jeff Stoops stated: “I am extremely blessed and fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead SBA and work with world-class colleagues in a remarkably dynamic and successful industry. I am very proud of the industry we have shaped, the customers we have served, the shareholders we have rewarded and the employees and communities we have benefitted. I want to give a heartfelt thanks to all who helped me on this remarkable journey, which continues. The time has come to turn the leadership of SBA over to the next generation. I am very excited about the future of SBA under the leadership of Brendan and the rest of our strong executive team. Brendan has been my partner and right-hand for many years, and during that time Brendan has been intimately involved in everything of importance for our Company, including managing our strong balance sheet and capital allocation program. He possesses the skills, character and vision to lead SBA to new heights in an ever-changing industry. The Board, Brendan and I have been preparing Brendan to succeed me for some time, and I will retire with the confidence and comfort in the knowledge that SBA will be in strong and capable hands. We expect the transition will be smooth and seamless, and I look forward to continuing my long relationship with Brendan and SBA as Chairman of the Board of Directors.”

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 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.

36% 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 21, 2022, to February 20, 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 performance issues, time with family or other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 36% 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 well 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 SBA Communications Corp., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 3.8, which is well 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 Jeff Stoops’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 9.2023 ($).