Federal Signal CFO Brian Cooper leaves abruptly

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After almost four years on the job
  • Laud, praise, thanks and good wishes for Cooper
  • Ian A. Hudson taking over in the interim

(exechange) — Oak Brook, Illinois, March 27, 2017 — Brian Cooper, finance chief of Federal Signal, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Federal Signal Corporation in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, March 27, 2017, Brian S. Cooper, Chief Financial Officer, has already left the maker of safety, signaling and communications equipment in a surprising move after almost four years on the job, effective March 21, 2017.

Cooper’s move comes 15 months after Jennifer L. Sherman took over as CEO of Federal Signal.

Cooper’s duties are taken over in the interim by Ian A. Hudson, currently Vice President and Corporate Controller at Federal Signal Corporation.

“To pursue other opportunities”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Federal Signal said: “Mr. Hudson succeeds Brian S. Cooper, CFO since May 2013, who has left the Company to pursue other opportunities.”

The phrase “to pursue other opportunities” is often used in corporate announcements and opens the door to speculation.

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

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for stockholders when a CFO leaves the post abruptly and without a reasonable explanation.

“Has left”

Federal Signal said: “On March 27, 2017, Federal Signal Corporation … announced the departure of Brian S. Cooper, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective March 21, 2017.”

Chaired by Dennis J. Martin

Federal Signal Corporation is chaired by Dennis J. Martin.

CEO: Jennifer L. Sherman

Jennifer L. Sherman serves as CEO of Federal Signal Corporation. Sherman is President and Chief Executive Officer of Federal Signal Corporation. She was appointed to the position on December 2, 2015 and assumed leadership of the Company on January 1, 2016.

On the job as CFO since 2013

Brian S. Cooper was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer effective May 28, 2013.

Cooper had served since 2009 as Chief Financial Officer of Westell Technologies, Inc., a NASDAQ-listed company which provides carrier-class telecommunications equipment for wire-line and wireless networks.

Prior to Westell, Cooper served as Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Fellowes, Inc., a manufacturer of office products, from 2007 to 2009.

Before joining Fellowes, he served as Senior Vice President and Treasurer since 2001 of United Stationers Inc., a NASDAQ-listed wholesaler of business products.

Prior to joining United Stationers, Cooper served as Treasurer of Burns International Services Corporation and held various financial positions during his 12 year tenure with Amoco Corporation.

Cooper holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Davidson College in Davidson, NC, as well as a master’s degree in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Cooper has entered into a consulting agreement with the Company and will work with Hudson to facilitate an orderly transition.


As a general rule, when a top manager announces to step aside with no permanent successor available, it is a sign that the move was unexpected and too early.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Brian Cooper’s move.

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

Read the full story in the exechange report 14.2017 ($).