CDK Global CFO Al Nietzel leaves at short notice

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • Thanks and good wishes for Nietzel
  • Lee Brunz taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Hoffman Estates, Illinois, May 25, 2017 — Al Nietzel, finance chief of CDK Global, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by CDK Global, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, May 25, 2017, Alfred A. (Al) Nietzel, Chief Financial Officer, leaves the provider of digital marketing products to the automotive retail industry in a surprising move, effective May 31, 2017.

Nietzel’s move comes 15 months after Brian MacDonald took over as CEO of CDK Global, Inc.

CDK Global will undertake a search for a successor.

Nietzel’s duties are taken over in the interim by Lee Brunz, currently Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary at CDK Global, Inc.

“To pursue other interests”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. CDK Global said: Al Nietzel “is leaving the Company to pursue other interests, effective May 31, 2017”.

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

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

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for investors when a CFO leaves the position at short notice and without a reasonable explanation.


CDK Global said: “[E]ffective May 31, 2017, Alfred A. Nietzel will depart from his position as Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer of the Company.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of CDK Global, Inc. since March 2017.

Elliott holds 5.59 percent stake

Elliott Management Corporation reported a 5.59 percent stake in CDK Global, Inc. as of March 30, 2017. Elliott is a hedge fund.

Chaired by Leslie A. Brun

CDK Global, Inc. is chaired by Leslie A. Brun.

CEO: Brian MacDonald

Brian MacDonald serves as CEO of CDK Global, Inc. Brian Patrick MacDonald has been the President of CDK Global, Inc., since January 1, 2016 and has been its Chief Executive Officer since March 2016.

On the job as CFO of CDK since 2014

According to his LinkedIn profile, Nietzel has been serving as the Chief Financial Officer of CDK Global since October 2014, after previously holding the role of Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer for ADP Dealer Services, Inc.

Since joining the organization in 2001, he has served as Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer for Dealer Services, Chief Financial Officer for ADP’s Employer Services Division and ADP’s Corporate Controller.

Prior to joining ADP, Nietzel enjoyed a 17-year career with Gillette in numerous financial management roles in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia.


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

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Al Nietzel’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 22.2017 ($).