- After about five years in the position
- Praise and thanks for Barker
- Joseph Schneider taking over temporarily
- Search for a successor
- Barker kept it short and said 58 words
(exechange) — West Jordan, Utah, April 12, 2023 — Jon Barker, chief executive of Sportsman’s, leaves his position. As announced by Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, Jon Barker leaves his post as chief executive officer at the outdoor specialty retailer, after about five years in the role, effective April 14, 2023.
The average tenure of CEOs who announced their departure over the past 12 months was 7.8 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.
Sportsman’s will undertake a search for a successor.
Jon Barker’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Joseph P. Schneider, most recently Chair of the Board at Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings Inc., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.
In addition to Barker’s transition, the Board also announced the appointment of Erica Fortune as a new Independent Director of the Board. Fortune has been appointed a Class II Director with a term expiring in 2025.
“To spend time on personal interests”
The management change is explained as follows. Sportsman’s stated: “Jon Barker has decided to retire as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective Friday, April 14, 2023, in order to spend time on personal interests.”
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 (16.5%) and the statement that the time was right for a change (10.4%), according to exechange data. Other motives given for leadership changes included the outgoing CEO’s wish to pursue other opportunities (5.7% of cases), personal reasons (3.8%) and conduct issues (1.9%). 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 28.2% of cases, no reason was given.
Precise information regarding Jon Barker’s future plans was not immediately available.
Sportsman’s said: “On April 10, 2023, Jon Barker notified Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings, Inc. (the “Company”) of his retirement and voluntary resignation as President, Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of the Company, effective April 14, 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.
“Not the result of any disagreement”
Sportsman’s stated, regarding the change: “Mr. Barker’s resignation was not the result of any disagreement with the Company or the Company’s management regarding operations, policies or practices.”
Share price decline since April 2021
The announcement follows a decline in Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings Inc.’s share price of 50% since April 2021.
In the position of CEO since 2018
Jon Barker became CEO of the Company in 2018.
Barker will be available to advise the Company for 30 days after his retirement to aid in an effective and smooth transition.
Jon Barker has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and member of the Company’s Board since March 2018 and as the Company’s President since March 2017.
Barker previously served as the Company’s Chief Operating Officer from March 2017 to March 2018.
Prior to joining the Company, Barker served as VP Global Officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. where he served in the dual roles of President and CEO of Hayneedle.com, a leading online home furnishings retailer, since 2013, and effective January 2017 as group leader for the Home and Outdoor furnishings categories for U.S. ecommerce across Walmart.com, Jet.com and Hayneedle.com.
From 2008 to 2013, Barker was Chief Operating Officer of Hayneedle.com.
Prior to Walmart, Barker served as Senior Vice President of Distribution-Logistics at Cornerstone Brands from 1999 to 2008, which is comprised of home and lifestyle brands including Frontgate, Ballard Designs, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road, and Improvements.
Barker received a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Northern Kentucky University.
58 words by Jon Barker
In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings Inc., Jon Barker received praise and thanks.
In announcing his departure, Jon Barker kept it short and said 58 words.
“Now is the right time for me”
Jon Barker stated: “The last six years have been an honor for me to work with such a talented team and be part of the incredible transformation and growth of our business. Now is the right time for me to turn the page and focus my next chapter on personal interests. I look forward to watching the Company continue to succeed.”
Over the past 12 months, 24% 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.
40% 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 316 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (April 12, 2022, to April 11, 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 40% 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 Jon Barker’s move determined
The Push-out Score regarding Jon Barker’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.
exechange reached out to Sportsman’s and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.
Read the full story in the exechange report 16.2023 ($).