SPS Commerce CEO Archie Black leaves post

  • After around 22 years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Black
  • Search for a successor
  • Black will remain as Executive Chair at SPS Commerce
  • Black said 79 words

(exechange) — Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2, 2023 — Archie Black, chief executive of SPS Commerce, leaves his position. As announced by SPS Commerce Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, March 2, 2023, Archie Black leaves his post as chief executive officer at the specialist in retail cloud services, after around 22 years in the role, effective upon his successor’s appointment as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer.

It is the end of an era.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.4 years. Around 9% 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.

SPS Commerce will undertake a search for a successor.

No reason given

In the announcement, SPS Commerce did not explicitly explain the reason for the move.

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (26.2% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (17.1%) 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 (5.8% of cases), personal reasons (3.4%) and conduct issues (2.1%). Rather rarely stated reasons are career change (2.1% of cases), health problems (1.5%), disagreement (1.2%), the desire for more time with family (0.9%) and death (0.9%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 29.3% of cases, no reason was given.

Black will remain as Executive Chair at SPS Commerce

SPS Commerce stated: “The Company’s Board of Directors has initiated an executive search for the next CEO. Once appointed, Mr. Black will transition from his position as CEO to the newly created role of Executive Chair of the Board. This transition is designed to provide leadership continuity and reflects the Company’s commitment to consistent execution, and its mission to be the world’s retail network.”


SPS Commerce said that Archie Black “intends to retire from his role as CEO.”

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 March 2018

The announcement follows an increase in SPS Commerce Inc.’s share price of 384% since March 2018.

In the position of CEO since 2001

Archie Black became CEO of the Company in 2001.

As CEO of SPS Commerce since 2001, Archie Black has led the company to become a recognized leader in retail cloud services with the industry’s largest retail network and more than 80 consecutive quarters of increased revenues.

Archie Black is a cloud computing pioneer and has helped SPS Commerce transform the retail industry by replacing traditional enterprise software with a more responsive, agile retail platform.

Under his leadership, SPS Commerce has grown from a groundbreaking, disruptive idea into a global powerhouse with the largest retail network and the industry’s first integrated suite of products architected for today’s omnichannel retail market.

He is the recipient of numerous awards including EY Entrepreneur of the Year and the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Titans of Technology, and is a frequent presenter at industry, investor and academic events.

He has a Bachelor of Science from Marquette University.

79 words by Archie Black

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of SPS Commerce Inc., Archie Black received accolades, praise and thanks.

In announcing the leadership change, Archie Black said 79 words.

“Continued success and sustained, profitable growth”

Archie Black stated: “Since 2001, I have had the opportunity to work with talented individuals who helped me to plan for, prepare, and execute a dramatic new course for our organization. Together, we have successfully capitalized on retail industry dynamics and became the world’s largest cloud retail network, while consistently delivering on our commitments to customers and shareholders. I am proud of our accomplishments, and I believe our strategy and our people position SPS Commerce for continued success and sustained, profitable growth.”

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.

37% 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 328 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (March 2, 2022, to March 1, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 5.9, 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 37% 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 information technology 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 discretionary 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 information technology sector, which includes SPS Commerce Inc., the average Push-out Score over the past 12 months was 6.1, which is well above the critical threshold of 5.

In the information technology sector, 19 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 Archie Black’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 10.2023 ($).