Winnebago CFO Sarah Nielsen leaves post at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After almost twelve years on the job
  • Laud, praise and thanks for Nielsen
  • Bryan Hughes taking over

(exechange) — Forest City, Iowa, April 03, 2017 — Sarah Nielsen, finance chief of Winnebago, leaves the position. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Winnebago Industries, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, April 03, 2017, Sarah N. Nielsen leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the manufacturer of motor homes in a surprising move after almost twelve years on the job, effective May 15, 2017.

It is the end of an era.

Nielsen’s move comes 15 months after Michael J. Happe took over as CEO of Winnebago.

Nielsen will remain with the Company in Forest City, IA, “to provide for a smooth transition”, Winnebago said.

Nielsen’s duties are taken over by Bryan Hughes, most recently Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller at Ecolab, Inc.

The fact that Nielsen’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

“Deliver shareholder value going forward”

A reason for the imminent change was not explicitly given. President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Happe said: “We look forward to benefitting from Bryan’s experience and strategic guidance as we work to take Winnebago to new levels of growth and profitability and deliver shareholder value going forward.”

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


Winnebago said: “Mr. Hughes will succeed Sarah Nielsen.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Winnebago Industries, Inc. since December 2016.

Summit Partners holds 7.26 percent stake

Summit Partners, L.P. reported a 7.26 percent stake in Winnebago Industries, Inc. as of December 31, 2016. Summit Partners is a private equity company.

Chaired by Robert M. Chiusano

Winnebago Industries, Inc. is chaired by Robert M. Chiusano.

CEO: Michael J. Happe

Michael J. Happe serves as CEO of Winnebago Industries, Inc. Happe was appointed to the position of President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2016. Prior to that, Happe served as an Executive Officer and Group Vice President of Toro’s Residential and Contractor businesses.

On the job as CFO since 2005

Nielsen has been Vice President, Chief Financial Officer since November 2005.

She joined the Company in August 2005 as Director of Special Projects and Training.

Prior to joining Winnebago Industries, Nielsen had been employed by Deloitte & Touche LLP since 1995, most recently in the position of Assurance and Advisory Services Senior Manager since 2003 and a Manager since 2000.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Sarah Nielsen’s imminent 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 15.2017 ($).