H&R Block CEO Bill Cobb leaves

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After around six years on the job
  • Laud, praise, thanks and good wishes for Cobb
  • Tom Gerke taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Cobb spoke at length and said 86 words

(exechange) — Kansas City, Missouri, May 16, 2017 — Bill Cobb, chief executive of H&R Block, leaves. As announced by H&R Block, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, May 16, 2017, William C. (Bill) Cobb leaves the post as chief executive officer at the tax preparation company in a surprising move after around six years on the job, effective July 31, 2017.

H&R Block will undertake a search for a successor.

Cobb’s duties are taken over in the interim by Tom Gerke, currently Chief Administrative Officer at H&R Block, Inc.

No reason given

In the announcement, H&R Block did not explicitly explain the reason for Cobb’s move, opening the door for speculation.

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


H&R Block said: “On May 15, 2017, William C. Cobb, President, Chief Executive Officer, and Director of H&R Block, Inc. …, notified the Company of his decision to retire from his positions as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors … effective as of July 31, 2017.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of H&R Block, Inc. since November 2015.

Chaired by Robert A. Gerard

H&R Block, Inc. is chaired by Robert A. Gerard.

On the job as CEO since 2011

William C. Cobb was named President and Chief Executive Officer of H&R Block, Inc. in May 2011.

He has been a member of the company’s Board of Directors since August 2010.

Prior to joining H&R Block, Cobb was President of eBay U.S. Marketplaces, the company’s flagship division from 2004 to 2008.

Under his management, the eBay division traded $25 billion in goods and services, and reached a record $2.6 billion in revenue.

In addition to eBay’s U.S. performance, Cobb was responsible for affiliated businesses such as, StubHub, Shopping.com and Rent.com.

Cobb led eBay’s International division from 2002 to 2004.

He started with eBay in 2000 as the head of eBay’s Global Marketing, where he developed the company’s first brand campaign and the largest Internet marketing function on the Web.

From 1987 until 2000, Cobb occupied several senior-level positions at PepsiCo and YUM! Brands, including Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of International Marketing for YUM!, and Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Pizza Hut U.S.

Cobb earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.


Generally speaking, when a top manager announces to step down with no permanent successor in place, it’s a signal that the change was unexpected and too early.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Bill Cobb’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 21.2017 ($).