Athenahealth CFO Karl Stubelis leaves at short notice

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about a year on the job
  • Thanks and good wishes for Stubelis
  • Jack Kane taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Watertown, Massachusetts, July 14, 2017 — Karl Stubelis, finance chief of Athenahealth, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Athenahealth, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, July 14, 2017, Karl Stubelis leaves the post as chief financial officer at the provider of cloud-based services for medical groups in a surprising move after about a year on the job, effective July 21, 2017.

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

Athenahealth will undertake a search for a successor.

Stubelis’ duties are taken over in the interim by Jack Kane, a former chief financial officer at IDX Systems Corporation.

Already a director

Kane is already a director of Athenahealth. Often a board member is a last resort, someone who is turned to in desperation when a company can’t find other suitable candidates. On the other hand, directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Kane understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Athenahealth’s organization, finances and strategy.

“To pursue other opportunities”

The imminent management change is explained as follows. Athenahealth said: “Karl Stubelis is stepping down as chief financial officer 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 Stubelis was not immediately available.

Alarm signal

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

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Athenahealth, Inc. since February 2014.

Chaired by Jonathan Bush

Athenahealth, Inc. is chaired by Jonathan Bush.

Jonathan Bush has served as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, President, and Chairman of the Board of Directors since he co-founded Athenahealth in 1997.

On the job as CFO since 2016

Karl Stubelis has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since May 31, 2016.

Stubelis was appointed as the Company’s Chief Accounting Officer in July 2014, and has served as Treasurer of Athenahealth since February 2016.

Prior to his current role, Stubelis served as Vice President and Corporate Controller from September 2013 to May 2016, and served as the Company’s interim Chief Financial Officer from May 2014 to July 2014.

Prior to joining Athenahealth, Stubelis served as vice president, corporate controller, and chief accounting officer at Sapient Corporation, a marketing and consulting company, from September 2009 to September 2013, and as its director of financial operations from November 2004 to September 2009.

From 1998 to 2004, Stubelis held a wide variety of leadership positions, structuring and driving finance teams in companies with momentous operating scale and intricacy.

Stubelis received his B.S. from the University of Vermont and his M.B.A. from Suffolk University.

To help ensure a smooth transition, Stubelis will continue to support the Company through the reporting of Athenahealth’s 2017 second quarter results.

At the time of Stubelis’ appointment as chief financial officer at Athenahealth, Jonathan Bush, CEO of Athenahealth, had said: “Karl has been instrumental in modernizing our finance infrastructure to allow us to efficiently operate as a larger company. His experience working with growth companies and multi-billion dollar revenue enterprises positions him extremely well to support our continued growth and operations as a maturing business.”

Unexpected

As a general rule, when a top leader announces to step down with no permanent successor available, it’s a sign that the change was unexpected and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Karl Stubelis’ 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 29.2017 ($).