BlackLine CEO Marc Huffman leaves

  • After about two years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Huffman
  • Therese Tucker and Owen Ryan taking over
  • Huffman kept it short and said 38 words

(exechange) — Los Angeles, California, March 6, 2023 — Marc Huffman, chief executive of BlackLine, leaves his position. As announced by BlackLine Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, March 6, 2023, Marc Huffman leaves his post as chief executive officer at the enterprise software company, after about two years in the role, effective immediately.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 8.4 years. Around 23% of departing CEOs left their posts within three 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.

Marc Huffman’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Therese Tucker and Owen Ryan, most recently founder, director and former Chief Executive Officer (Tucker); and Board Chair (Ryan) at BlackLine Inc., as co-Chief Executive Officers.


BlackLine did not give an explicit reason for Marc Huffman’s departure from the CEO post. Thomas Unterman, who has served as a director since 2010 and who has been named Lead Independent Director, stated: “The decision to place Therese and Owen at the helm resulted from discussions between the Board and Marc and the determination that now is the right time to transition leadership as BlackLine takes the next step in its growth strategy.”

The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (25.8% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (17.3%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (9.4%), 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 (3.6%) 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 29.2% of cases, no reason was given.

Precise information regarding Marc Huffman’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Ceased to serve”

BlackLine said: “Ms. Tucker and Mr. Ryan succeed Marc Huffman, who has agreed to serve as an advisor to the Company for the next year.”

BlackLine further said: “On March 5, 2023, BlackLine, Inc. (the “Company”) and Marc Huffman, the Company’s President and Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”), mutually agreed to terms pursuant to which Mr. Huffman ceased to serve as CEO, effective as of March 6, 2023. Mr. Huffman has also resigned as a member of the Board.”

Share price decline since January 2021

The announcement follows a decline in BlackLine Inc.’s share price of 45% since January 2021. January 2021 is the month in which Huffman’s tenure as CEO began.

In the position of CEO since 2021

Marc Huffman became CEO of the Company in 2021.

Marc Huffman has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer since January 2021, as the Company’s President since February 2020, as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer from February 2018 to January 2021, and as a member of the Company’s board of directors since May 2020.

Prior to joining the Company, Huffman served as President, Worldwide Sales and Distribution of NetSuite Inc., a global cloud ERP software provider (acquired by Oracle Corporation), from April 2014 to February 2018, Senior Vice President of North American Verticals, Channels and APAC of NetSuite from 2010 to April 2014, Senior Vice President of Sales, North America of NetSuite from 2008 to 2010 and Vice President of Sales of NetSuite from December 2003 to 2008.

Prior to joining NetSuite, Huffman served as a director of sales responsible for Canada and the central United States at Oracle Corporation, a software technology company.

From March 2016 to May 2021, Huffman served on the board of directors of ChannelAdvisor Corporation, a provider of software-as-a-service solutions that help retailers and branded manufacturers improve their online performance.

Huffman holds a B.S. with an emphasis in Marketing from California State University, Chico.

At the time of Marc Huffman’s appointment as Chief Executive Officer at BlackLine, Tucker had stated: “I’ve been so pleased with the leadership Marc has demonstrated over the past two and a half years, most recently driving our response to the COVID-19 pandemic – mitigating disruption to the business and our customers.  Because of Marc’s leadership, skill set, cultural alignment and stellar performance, BlackLine is in a better position to grow and scale than ever before. I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved at BlackLine and believe Marc is the kind of leader I can trust to take our customer-centric values, vision and growth to the next level.  I am also thrilled that in addition to providing strategic oversight as executive chair, I will now have more time to focus on the areas I love most – product innovation and customer success.”

38 words by Marc Huffman

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of BlackLine Inc., Marc Huffman received accolades, praise and thanks.

In announcing the leadership change, Marc Huffman kept it short and said 38 words.

“Continued success”

Marc Huffman stated: “My time with BlackLine has been a wonderful privilege and opportunity, and I am incredibly proud of what our hard-working and dedicated team has accomplished together. I look forward to following BlackLine’s continued success for years to come.”

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 329 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (March 6, 2022, to March 5, 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.

Push-out Score for Marc Huffman’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 11.2023 ($).