Blue Buffalo CEO Kurt Schmidt leaves at short notice

  • Significant signs for push-out forces
  • After four years on the job
  • Praise and thanks for Schmidt
  • Billy Bishop, Jr. takes over

(management-change.com) — Wilton, Connecticut, November 10, 2016 — Kurt Schmidt, chief executive of Blue Buffalo, leaves. It is a change at short notice. As announced by Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Thursday, November 10, 2016, Kurt Schmidt leaves the post as Chief Executive Officer at the pet food company in a surprising move after four years on the job, effective December 31, 2016.

Schmidt’s duties are taken over by Billy Bishop, Jr., most recently President at Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc.

No reason given

In the announcement, Blue Buffalo did not explicitly explain the reason for Schmidt’s imminent move, opening the door for speculation.

“He intends to retire”

Blue Buffalo said: “As part of the Company’s succession plan, on November 7, 2016, Kurt Schmidt, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, notified the Board of Directors … of the Company that he intends to retire as Chief Executive Officer effective December 31, 2016.”

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

Chaired by William Bishop

Blue Buffalo Pet Products, Inc. is chaired by William Bishop.

William (Bill) Bishop has served as Chairman since 2012 and has served as a member of the Board of Directors since 2007. Bill Bishop was President and Chief Executive Officer of Blue Buffalo Company, Ltd. from 2007 to 2012. Bill Bishop founded the Blue Buffalo Company in 2002 with his sons Billy Bishop and Chris Bishop.

On the job as CEO since 2012

Kurt Schmidt has served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors since December 1, 2012.

Schmidt brings deep experience in consumer products with decades of leadership experience in the United States and overseas at Kraft, Wrigley, Novartis and Nestlé.

At Nestle, Schmidt was responsible for their $8 billion global Health & Wellness Division and he was a member of Nestlé’s Executive Committee.

His responsibilities at Nestle included Nestle’s Maternal and Infant Nutrition (Gerber and Nestlé brands), Weight Management (Jenny Craig) and Sports Nutrition (Power Bar and Musashi) businesses.

Schmidt joined Nestlé in 2007 as part of its acquisition of Gerber Products from Novartis, where he was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Gerber from 2004 to 2007.

Prior to Gerber, Schmidt was the Head of Novartis Animal Health from 2002 to 2004.

Schmidt has a BS in Chemistry from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from University of Chicago.

Schmidt will also step down from the Board at the time of his retirement.

To ensure a smooth transition, Schmidt will take on the role of Senior Advisor, providing consulting services to the Company from the effective date of his retirement until December 31, 2017.

Significant signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Kurt Schmidt’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 42.2016 ($).