Fred’s CFO Rick Hans leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After less than a year and a half on the job
  • Thanks and good wishes for Hans
  • Jason Jenne taking over

(exechange) — Memphis, Tennessee, July 19, 2017 — Rick Hans, finance chief of Fred’s, leaves the position. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Fred’s, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, Rick J. Hans leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the department store company in a surprising move after less than a year and a half on the job, effective immediately.

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

Hans’ move comes eleven months after Michael K. Bloom took over as CEO of Fred’s, Inc.

Furthermore, Hans’ move comes 15 months after Thomas H. Tashjian took over as chairman of Fred’s, Inc.

Hans’ duties are taken over by Jason Jenne, most recently Senior Vice President, Finance at Fred’s, Inc.

“To pursue other opportunities”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Fred’s said: “Mr. Jenne succeeds Rick Hans, who is stepping down from the Company to pursue other opportunities.”

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

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

Wake-up call

Generally speaking, it is often a wake-up call for investors when a CFO leaves the post abruptly and without comprehensible reasons being given.

“Will no longer serve”

Fred’s said: “Effective as of July 19, 2017, Rick J. Hans will no longer serve as the Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary of Fred’s, Inc.”

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Fred’s, Inc. since June 29, 2017.

Chaired by Thomas H. Tashjian

Fred’s, Inc. is chaired by Thomas H. Tashjian.

Fred’s Board of Directors has appointed Thomas H. Tashjian, a director of the Company since 2001, as the Chairman of the Board, on April 15, 2016.

CEO: Michael K. Bloom

Michael K. Bloom serves as CEO of Fred’s, Inc. Michael K. R. Bloom has been the Chief Executive Officer of Fred’s, Inc. since August 29, 2016 and has been its President since January 12, 2015.

Bloom served as the Chief Operating Officer of Fred’s, Inc. from January 12, 2015 to August 29, 2016.

On the job as CFO since 2016

Rick J. Hans joined the Company in April 2016 as Executive Vice President – Chief Financial Officer.

Prior to joining the Company, Hans served as Vice President of Investor Relations and Finance of Walgreens Co. before retiring.

He was a Director of Finance and Assistant Treasurer prior to that where he championed a sound capital structure that provided the basis for major strategic acquisitions.

Throughout his 27 years at Walgreens, he held many position, beginning as a financial analyst in 1987.

Hans will remain in an advisory capacity until August 18, 2017 and will work closely with Jenne to ensure a smooth transition.

At the time of Hans’ appointment as Chief Financial Officer at Fred’s, Jerry A. Shore, then Chief Executive Officer, had said: “We are very pleased to announce that Rick Hans has joined our company as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Rick brings a broad background and deep understanding of our total business, which will allow us to better align shareholder value with the potential of our operations. One of our key initiatives for almost two years now has been to improve the talent throughout our organization, using a balanced approach of hiring of new leadership with strong industry expertise together with developing and promoting existing team members. This initiative has brought to Fred’s differing skills and perspectives that strengthen our capabilities and help us continue driving towards sustainable growth and profitability. The addition of Rick to our team greatly advances the success we have achieved with our talent initiative.”

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Rick Hans’ sudden 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 30.2017 ($).