Grace CEO Fred Festa leaves post

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After around twelve years in the position
  • Praise for Festa
  • No successor named
  • Festa will remain as non-executive Chairman at Grace
  • Festa said 55 words

(exechange) — Columbia, Maryland, November 03, 2017 — Fred Festa, chief executive of Grace, leaves the position. As announced by W.R. Grace & Co. in a news release on Friday, November 03, 2017, Alfred E. (Fred) Festa leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at the chemicals company after around twelve years in the position, effective during the fourth quarter of 2018.

It is the end of an era.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past twelve months was 8.7 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 36 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past twelve months left the position after more than ten years.

Grace did not name a replacement for the position of Chief Executive Officer.

No reason given

In the announcement, Grace did not explicitly explain the reason for Festa’s move, opening the door for speculation.

Festa will remain as non-executive Chairman at Grace

“Fred Festa intends to step down as Chief Executive Officer during the fourth quarter of 2018, but remain as non-executive Chairman,” Grace said.

“Step down”

Grace said: “Fred Festa intends to step down as Chief Executive Officer during the fourth quarter of 2018.”

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of W.R. Grace & Co. since January 2016.

In the position of CEO since 2005

Alfred E. Festa has been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of W.R. Grace & Co. since January 1, 2008 and June 1, 2005, respectively.

Festa joined Grace in 2003 and was elected Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) in 2005 and Chairman in 2008.

He served as President from 2003 to 2011 and Chief Operating Officer from 2003 to 2005.

Prior to joining Grace, Festa was a partner of Morganthaler Private Equity Partners, a venture capital and buyout firm, from 2002 to 2003.

From 2000 to 2002, he was with ICG Commerce, Inc., a private company providing on-line procurement services, where he last served as President and Chief Executive Officer.

Prior to that, he served as Vice President and General Manager of AlliedSignal’s (now Honeywell) performance fibers business.

Festa is a director of NVR, Inc., a publicly held home builder.

Unexpected

As a general rule, when a top manager announces to step down with no successor available, it is a signal that the move was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Fred Festa’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 45.2017 ($).