Essendant CFO Earl Shanks leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After about a year and a half on the job
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Shanks
  • Janet Zelenka taking over

(exechange) — Deerfield, Illinois, April 26, 2017 — Earl Shanks, finance chief of Essendant, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Essendant Inc. in a news release on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Earl C. Shanks leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the wholesale distributor of workplace items in a surprising move after about a year and a half on the job, effective May 26, 2017.

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

Shanks’ duties are taken over by Janet Zelenka, currently Chief Information Officer at Essendant Inc.

“She is the right person to lead our finance organization going forward”

A reason for the imminent change was not explicitly given. Robert B. Aiken, Jr., president and chief executive officer of Essendant, said: “I am … pleased that Janet will assume the role of CFO going forward. … We have worked closely together and I am confident she is the right person to lead our finance organization going forward.”

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


Essendant said: “Ms. Zelenka will succeed Earl Shanks who will be retiring from the Company after assisting in a brief transition.”

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Essendant Inc. since July 2016.

Chaired by Charles K. Crovitz

Essendant Inc. is chaired by Charles K. Crovitz.

CEO: Robert B. Aiken

Robert B. Aiken serves as CEO of Essendant Inc. Robert B. Aiken has been the Chief Executive Officer and President of Essendant Inc. since July 2015 and served as its interim Chief Executive Officer since May 2015.

On the job as CFO since 2015

Earl C. Shanks was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in November 2015.

Prior to joining Essendant, Shanks served as the Chief Financial Officer at Convergys Corporation from 2003 to 2012, a global leader in relationship management solutions and a major provider of outsourced business services.

Prior to that, Shanks was the Chief Financial Officer between 2001 and 2003, and held various other financial leadership roles from 1996 to 2001 with NCR Corporation and Farley Industries and Fruit of the Loom, Inc. from 1983-1996.

Shanks also serves as a director of Verint, a global leader in actionable intelligence solutions.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Earl Shanks’ 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 18.2017 ($).