Seacoast CFO Steve Fowle leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After less than two years on the job
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Fowle
  • Chuck Shaffer taking over

( — Stuart, Florida, January 27, 2017 — Steve Fowle, finance chief of Seacoast, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, January 27, 2017, Stephen A. (Steve) Fowle leaves the post as chief financial officer at the bank in a surprising move after less than two years on the job, effective March 15, 2017.

No company wants a CFO to flame out in the first years.

Fowle’s duties are taken over by Chuck Shaffer, currently executive vice president and currently head of community banking and former controller at Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida.

The move is part of a management shake-up.

“Personal reasons”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Seacoast said: “Stephen A. Fowle, Seacoast’s current CFO, is leaving for personal reasons and has agreed to continue in the role until mid-March 2017 to ensure a smooth transition.”

In the announcement, the company did not detail the personal reasons causing Fowle to leave the position, leaving room for speculation.

Precise information about the future plans of Fowle was not immediately available.

Share price rise since November 2016

The change follows a rise in the share price of Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida since November 2016.

Basswood holds 5.71 percent stake

Basswood Capital Management, L.L.C. reported a 5.71 percent stake in Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida as of September 30, 2016. Basswood is a New York-based hedge fund.

Chaired by Dennis S. Hudson III

Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida is chaired by Dennis S. Hudson III.

Hudson was named Chairman of Seacoast in July 2005, and has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Company since June 1998.

On the job as CFO since 2015

Fowle joined Seacoast Bank as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) in early April 2015.

Prior to joining Seacoast Bank, Fowle had been CFO of WSFS Financial Corporation, a $4.9 billion publicly-traded financial institution in Wilmington, Delaware, since 2005.

In this role, he was a key player in corporate strategy and leadership of company initiatives, including M & A and corporate development activities.

In addition, he also directed finance, tax, treasury, accounting, investor relations, vendor management, facilities and payable functions.

From 2000 – 2004, Fowle served as CFO at Third Federal Savings and Loan Association of Cleveland, MHC, an $8+ billion multibank holding company of 15+ subsidiaries.

Fowle also served as Vice President of Corporate Finance at a regional investment banking firm.

He received his B.S. from Stanford University and a Masters of Management, Finance and Marketing from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Fowle, executive vice president and CFO, will continue in the role until mid-March to ensure a smooth transition.

At the time of Fowle’s appointment as chief financial officer at Seacoast, Dennis S. Hudson, III, Chief Executive Officer, had said: “Steve’s extensive leadership experience and background will add bench strength to our executive team as we intensify our efforts to accelerate growth, achieve higher levels of financial performance and transform our business model, to produce greater rewards for all our stakeholders.”

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Steve Fowle’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the report 06.2017 ($).