Discover Financial CEO Roger Hochschild leaves

  • After about five years in the position
  • Thanks for Hochschild
  • John Owen taking over temporarily
  • Search for a successor
  • Hochschild kept it short and said 27 words

(exechange) — Riverwoods, Illinois, August 14, 2023 — Roger Hochschild, chief executive of Discover Financial, leaves his position. As announced by Discover Financial Services in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, August 14, 2023, Roger C. Hochschild leaves his post as chief executive officer at the digital banking and payment services company, after about five years in the role, effective immediately.

Generally speaking, it raises questions when a CEO leaves his post abruptly.

Discover Financial will undertake a search for a successor.

Roger Hochschild’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by John B. Owen, a former Chief Operating Officer at Regions Financial Corp., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Already a director

Owen has already been a member of the board of directors of Discover Financial. Generally speaking, most director-turned-CEO appointments occur following a sudden resignation of the outgoing CEO and signal a lack of preparedness on the company’s part to groom internal talent. Directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Owen understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Discover Financial’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“Enhancing compliance, risk management and corporate governance”

Discover Financial did not give an explicit reason for Roger Hochschild’s departure from the CEO post. Tom Maheras, Chair of the Board, stated: “The Board and Roger have agreed that now is the right time to transition leadership, and we thank Roger for his 25 years of service to the Company. The Board is continuously focused on Discover reaching its full potential across the business, including our commitment to enhancing compliance, risk management and corporate governance. We will continue to take actions to advance Discover’s strategic priorities and generate high returns and capital.”

Precise information regarding Roger Hochschild’s future plans was not immediately available.

“Step down/resignation”

Discover Financial said: “[T]he Discover Board of Directors and Roger Hochschild have agreed that Hochschild will step down as Chief Executive Officer and President and as a member of the Board.”

Discover Financial further said: “On August 13, 2023, the Board of Directors (the “Board”) of Discover Financial Services (the “Company”) accepted the resignation of Roger C. Hochschild from his positions as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Company, a member of the Board and a director and officer of Discover Bank (the “Bank”), each effective August 14, 2023.”

Share price decline since August 2021

The announcement follows a decline in Discover Financial Services’s share price of 16% since August 2021.

In the position of CEO since 2018

Roger Hochschild became CEO of the Company in 2018.

Hochschild will serve in an advisory role at the Company through the end of the year to ensure a smooth transition.

His bio reads as follows:

  • Chief executive officer and president of Discover since October 2018
  • President and chief operating officer of Discover from 2004 to 2018
  • Executive vice president, chief administrative and strategic officer for Morgan Stanley from 2001 to 2004
  • Executive vice president, chief marketing officer – Discover from 1998 to 2001, when Discover was a part of Morgan Stanley
27 words by Roger Hochschild

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Discover Financial Services, Roger Hochschild received thanks.

In announcing his departure, Roger Hochschild kept it short and said 27 words.

“The Company will enjoy continued success”

Roger Hochschild stated: “It has been a privilege to spend 25 years with the people of Discover at this amazing company. I know that the Company will enjoy continued success.”

Push-out Score for Roger Hochschild’s move determined

The Push-out Score indicates on a scale of 0 to 10 how likely it is that Roger Hochschild was pushed out or felt pressure to leave his position.

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 34.2023 ($).