Halyard Health CEO Robert Abernathy leaves post at short notice

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After almost three years on the job
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Abernathy
  • Joe Woody taking over
  • Abernathy will remain as Chairman at Halyard Health
  • Abernathy said 52 words

(exechange) — Alpharetta, Georgia, June 23, 2017 — Robert Abernathy, chief executive of Halyard Health, leaves the position. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Halyard Health, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, June 23, 2017, Robert E. Abernathy leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at the medical technology company in a surprising move after almost three years on the job, effective June 26, 2017.

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

Abernathy’s duties are taken over by Joe Woody, most recently Chief Executive Officer at Acelity.

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

In general, an outsider does not have the constraints of an insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions.

Halyard Health has already removed the name of Abernathy from the leadership page and lists Woody as Chief Executive Officer.

No reason given

In the announcement, Halyard Health did not explicitly explain the reason for Abernathy’s imminent move, leaving room for speculation.

Abernathy will remain as Chairman at Halyard Health

“[E]ffective June 26, 2017, Robert E. Abernathy will retire as CEO but will continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors,” Halyard Health said.

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often a wake-up call for stockholders when a CEO leaves the position at short notice and without a reasonable explanation.


Halyard Health said: “Robert E. Abernathy will retire as CEO, effective June 26, 2017.”

Share price rise since February 2016

The change follows a rise in the share price of Halyard Health, Inc. since February 2016.

On the job as CEO since 2014

Robert E. Abernathy has been the Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer since the Company’s spin-off from Kimberly-Clark on October 31, 2014.

He served as President Global Health Care of Kimberly-Clark from June 2014 until the Company’s spin-off from Kimberly-Clark on October 31, 2014.

Prior to that he served as an Executive Vice President of Kimberly-Clark from November 2013 to June 2014 and prior to that served as Kimberly-Clark’s Group President — Europe, Global Nonwovens, and Continuous Improvement & Sustainability from 2012 to November 2013.

He had overall responsibility for Kimberly-Clark’s Health Care business from 1997 to early 2004.

His past responsibilities at Kimberly-Clark have also included overseeing its businesses in Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as operations and major project management in North America.

He was appointed Vice President — North American Diaper Operations in 1992; Managing Director of Kimberly-Clark Australia Pty. Limited in 1994; Group President — Developing and Emerging Markets in 2004; and Group President — North Atlantic Consumer Products in 2008.

Abernathy also serves as a director of RS Legacy Corporation (formerly RadioShack Corporation).

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Robert Abernathy’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 26.2017 ($).