BancorpSouth CFO Bill Prater leaves

  • Significant signs for push-out forces
  • After almost eight years on the job
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Prater
  • Search for a successor

(management-change.com) — Tupelo, Mississippi, November 16, 2016 — Bill Prater, finance chief of BancorpSouth, leaves. As announced by BancorpSouth, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, November 16, 2016, William Lloyd (Bill) Prater leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the financial holding company in a surprising move after almost eight years on the job, effective March 10, 2017. Prater intends to serve BancorpSouth in his current roles through the completion of BancorpSouth’s 2016 audit.

BancorpSouth will undertake a search for a successor.

No reason given

In the announcement, BancorpSouth did not explicitly explain the reason for Prater’s move, leaving room for speculation.

“His intention to retire”

BancorpSouth said: “William L. Prater, the Senior Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of the Company and BancorpSouth Bank …, informed the Company of his intention to retire effective as of March 10, 2017.”

“His early retirement does not reflect any dispute or disagreement”

“His early retirement does not reflect any dispute or disagreement with BancorpSouth or its management,” BancorpSouth said.

It is a phrase that may be intended to prevent false rumors. It may also fuel further speculation and raise more questions than it answers.

Such a phrase should be read very carefully. The exact wording may be insightful.

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

Share price rise since August 2011

The change follows a rise in the share price of BancorpSouth, Inc. since August 2011.

Chaired by James D. Rollins

BancorpSouth, Inc. is chaired by James D. Rollins III

Rollins is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BancorpSouth, Inc. and BancorpSouth Bank, Tupelo, Mississippi, and Director of BancorpSouth, Inc. since 2012.

On the job as CFO since 2009

Prater has been the Chief Financial Officer of BancorpSouth, Inc. since June 30, 2009.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Bill Prater’s career milestones are:

  • Executive Vice President & CFO, BancorpSouth, September 2008 – Present (8 years 3 months)
  • EVP, Regions Financial Corporation, 2004 – 2008 (4 years)
  • Vice President, SouthTrust, 1987 – 2004 (17 years)
  • Supervising Senior, KPMG, 1983 – 1987 (4 years)

BancorpSouth and Prater have entered into a post-retirement consulting agreement outlining the terms of Prater’s planned early retirement.

The post-retirement consulting arrangement calls for Prater to perform certain limited services in order to affect an orderly transition of his duties to his successor.

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 unexpected and too early.

Significant signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Bill Prater’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by management-change.com suggests significant signs for push-out forces that may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the management-change.com report 43.2016 ($).