Liberty Tax CEO John Hewitt leaves abruptly

  • After almost 21 years on the job
  • No successor named

(exechange) — Virginia Beach, Virginia, September 06, 2017 — John Hewitt, chief executive of Liberty Tax, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Liberty Tax, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, September 06, 2017, John T. Hewitt, Chief Executive Officer, has already left the tax preparation company after almost 21 years on the job, effective September 05, 2017.

It is the end of an era.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, only 35 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past twelve months left after more than ten years. Overall, the average tenure of those who left was 8.7 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

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

“The Board has determined that it is in the Company’s best interests to terminate Mr. Hewitt at this time”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Liberty Tax said: “The Company had engaged in a deliberate succession planning process, which resulted in Ed Brunot joining the Company as Chief Operating Officer as an interim step before assuming the role of CEO.  The Company is currently finalizing its succession plans, however, the Board has determined that it is in the Company’s best interests to terminate Mr. Hewitt at this time. The Company intends to announce the new CEO appointment in the coming days.”

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

“Terminated”

Liberty Tax said: “On September 5, 2017, the Board of Directors of Liberty Tax, Inc. … terminated the employment of John T. Hewitt, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman.”

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Liberty Tax, Inc. since November 2014.

On the job as CEO since 1996

Hewitt has served as the Company’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President since October 1996.

Hewitt is a pioneer in the tax preparation industry with a career in the industry spanning over 40 years.

From August 1982 until June 1996, Hewitt was the Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Jackson Hewitt Inc., in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

From December 1969 until June 1981, Hewitt held the varying positions of Tax Preparer, Assistant District Manager, District Manager, and Regional Director with H&R Block in Buffalo and Elmira, New York and Moorestown, New Jersey.

Hewitt is the brother of Ellen M. McDowell, one of the Company’s directors.

Hewitt, who is the sole holder of the Company’s Class B common stock (“Class B Shares”), currently remains on the Board.

Liberty Tax said: “The Company has been in negotiations to enter into agreements for Hewitt’s separation and the repurchase of his Class B Shares, which permit him to appoint a majority of the Board. No such agreements have been reached, and whether the Company will enter into such agreements with Hewitt remains uncertain at this time.”

Read the full story in the exechange report 37.2017 ($).