- After almost seven years in the position
- Praise and thanks for Gennette
- Tony Spring taking over
- Gennette spoke at length and said 146 words
(exechange) — New York, March 29, 2023 — Jeff Gennette, chief executive of Macy’s, is set to leave his position. His upcoming departure is made public at an early stage. As announced by Macy’s Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, Jeff Gennette leaves his post as chief executive officer at the department-store chain, after almost seven years in the role, effective in February 2024.
The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 7.9 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.
It is a long goodbye. The announcement of Jeff Gennette’s move comes up to 11 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 Gennette’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Tony Spring, most recently Executive Vice President Macy’s and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bloomingdale’s.
Jeff Gennette’s move coincides with a management shake-up also involving the position of chief operating officer.
“I see tremendous opportunity”
Macy’s did not give an explicit reason for Jeff Gennette’s planned departure from the CEO post. Spring stated: “Having worked closely with Jeff throughout our transformation, I see tremendous opportunity to build upon the storied reputation of each of our nameplates.”
The top three reasons cited in corporate announcements for CEO departures over the past 12 months are performance issues (27.7% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.7%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (10.1%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (6% of cases), personal reasons (3.8%) and conduct issues (2.2%). Rather rarely stated reasons are health problems (1.6% of cases), disagreement (1.3%), death (1.3%), the desire for more time with family (0.9%) and career change (0.6%). Sometimes, more than one reason was given. In 28% of cases, no reason was given.
Precise information regarding Jeff Gennette’s future plans was not immediately available.
Macy’s said: “Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Macy’s, Inc. Jeff Gennette (61) plans to retire in February 2024 after serving the company for 40 years.”
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 March 2018
The announcement follows a decline in Macy’s Inc.’s share price of 41% since March 2018.
In the position of CEO since 2017
Jeff Gennette became CEO of the Company in 2017.
CURRENT AND PAST POSITIONS
- Chief Executive Officer of Macy’s, Inc. since 2017, Chairman of the Board of Macy’s, Inc. since 2018.
- President of Macy’s, Inc. from 2014 to 2017.
- Chief Merchandising Officer from 2009 to 2014.
- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Macy’s West in San Francisco from 2008 to 2009.
- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Seattle-based Macy’s Northwest from 2006 to 2008.
146 words by Jeff Gennette
In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Macy’s Inc., Jeff Gennette received praise and thanks.
In announcing the leadership change, Jeff Gennette spoke at length and said 146 words.
“Build on our momentum”
Jeff Gennette stated: “Serving Macy’s, Inc. over the past 40 years has been a privilege. I’m proud of the exceptional work of our colleagues to strengthen Macy’s, Inc. by successfully executing our winning Polaris strategy. We’ve done so during profound industry changes and economic challenges. I’m excited that Tony Spring has been appointed Macy’s, Inc.’s president and will become CEO upon my retirement. He has delivered strong results at Bloomingdale’s and has been an ally and trusted partner in advancing Macy’s, Inc.’s strategies. Tony consistently innovates for the customer, is an exceptional brand builder and an excellent talent developer who has strengthened our culture through his leadership. And I’m delighted that Adrian’s role has greatly expanded, leveraging his deep strategic expertise, commitment to omnichannel operational excellence and strong financial discipline. Tony and Adrian are an ideal team to build on our momentum and propel Macy’s, Inc. into the future.”
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.
39% 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 318 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (March 29, 2022, to March 28, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 6.1, 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 personal reasons were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.
Around 39% 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, three in eight departing CEOs were forced out or fired.
Push-out Score for Jeff Gennette’s move determined
The Push-out Score regarding Jeff Gennette’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.
Read the full story in the exechange report 14.2023 ($).