Callaway CFO Robert Julian leaves abruptly

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After less than two years on the job
  • Thanks and good wishes for Julian
  • Brian P. Lynch taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Carlsbad, California, April 25, 2017 — Robert Julian, finance chief of Callaway, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Callaway Golf Company in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, Robert K. Julian leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the sporting goods company in a surprising move after less than two years on the job, effective immediately.

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

Callaway will undertake a search for a successor.

Julian’s duties are taken over in the interim by Brian P. Lynch, currently General Counsel at Callaway Golf Company.

No reason given

In the announcement, Callaway did not explicitly explain the obviously compelling reason for Julian’s sudden move, opening the door for speculation.

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

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often a wake-up call for shareholders when a CFO leaves the post abruptly and without a reasonable explanation.

“Departed”

Callaway said: “[E]ffective April 25, 2017, Robert K. Julian departed from his position as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company.”

Callaway further said: “Robert K. Julian has left the Company.”

“Not related to any disagreement”

“The Company emphasized that Mr. Julian’s departure was not related to any disagreement in accounting or financial reporting matters and that there has been no adverse change in the Company’s business,” Callaway 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.

Share price rise since February 2016

The change follows a rise in the share price of Callaway Golf Company since February 2016.

Chaired by Ronald S. Beard

Callaway Golf Company is chaired by Ronald S. Beard.

Beard, 78, has served as a Director of the Company since June 2001 and was appointed Chairman in August 2005.

CEO: Oliver G. Brewer III

Oliver G. Brewer III serves as CEO of Callaway Golf Company. Brewer, 53, has served as a Director and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company since March 2012.

On the job as CFO since 2015

Robert K. Julian has been the Chief Financial Officer of Callaway Golf Co. since May 11, 2015 and has been its Senior Vice President since May 2015.

Robert Julian has over 20 of years of financial leadership experience with increasing responsibility within industrial and technology companies such as Lydall, Legrand, Fisher Scientific International, Cisco Systems and Honeywell.

In his most recent role, he served as Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer at Lydall, Inc. Robert has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Finance from Michigan State University and an MBA in Finance from the University of Michigan.

At the time of Julian’s appointment as Chief Financial Officer at Callaway, Brewer had said: “After a thorough search, we believe that we have selected an outstanding individual to lead our global finance organization through the next chapter of Callaway’s turnaround plan. Robert has excellent leadership skills, strong business acumen, and solid knowledge in all facets of finance and accounting.”

Unexpected

Generally speaking, when a top leader announces to step aside with no permanent successor in place, it’s a sign that the change was unplanned and too early.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Robert Julian’s 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 18.2017 ($).