HBT CEO Fred Drake leaves post

  • After around 25 years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Drake
  • Lance Carter taking over
  • Drake will remain as Executive Chairman at HBT
  • Drake said 75 words

(exechange) — Bloomington, Illinois, April 3, 2023 — Fred Drake, chief executive of HBT, leaves his position. As announced by HBT Financial Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, April 3, 2023, Fred L. Drake leaves his post as chief executive officer at the holding company for Heartland Bank and Trust Company, after around 25 years in the role, effective May 23, 2023.

It is the end of an era.

The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 7.9 years. Around 8% of departing 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.

Fred Drake’s duties as CEO will be taken over by J.Lance Carter, currently President and Chief Operating Officer at HBT Financial Inc.

No reason given

In the announcement, HBT 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 (27.8% of cases), implementation of a planned succession (16.6%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (10%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (5.9% 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 28.1% of cases, no reason was given.

Drake will remain as Executive Chairman at HBT

HBT stated: “Fred L. Drake, Chairman and CEO of the Company and Chairman of Heartland Bank, will transition to the newly created role of Executive Chairman of the Company and Heartland Bank effective May 24, 2023.”

“Step down”

HBT said: “Fred L. Drake, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and Chairman of Heartland Bank and Trust Company (the “Bank”), will step down from the position of Chief Executive Officer of the Company on May 23, 2023 and assume the role of Executive Chairman of the Company and the Bank, effective May 24, 2023.”

Share price increase since April 2020

The announcement follows an increase in HBT Financial Inc.’s share price of 106% since April 2020.

75 words by Fred Drake

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of HBT Financial Inc., Fred Drake received praise and thanks.

In announcing his departure, Fred Drake said 75 words.

“I am very pleased”

Fred Drake stated: “I am very pleased to have Lance Carter assume responsibility as CEO of HBT Financial and Heartland Bank. In recent years, Lance has demonstrated the capability to lead HBT into the future. Over his 22-year career with us, he has gained experience with overall bank management, including credit administration, mergers/acquisitions, and overseeing a public company. Just as important, he has the trust and respect of our board, executive team, and the bank officers and staff.”

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 320 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (April 3, 2022, to April 2, 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 Fred Drake’s move determined

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

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 15.2023 ($).