OSG CFO Chris Wolf leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about half a year on the job
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Tampa, Florida, June 28, 2017 — Chris Wolf, finance chief of OSG, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, Christopher W. (Chris) Wolf has already left the post as Chief Financial Officer at the oil tanker operating company in a surprising move after about half a year on the job, effective June 27, 2017.

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

OSG will undertake a search for a successor.

No reason given

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

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

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for stockholders when a CFO leaves the position abruptly and without a reasonable explanation.

“Resignation”

OSG said: “Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. … today announced the resignation of Christopher Wolf as OSG’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, effective June 27, 2017.”

“Wolf’s resignation did not result from any disagreement”

“OSG stated that Mr. Wolf’s resignation did not result from any disagreement or concerns related to accounting or financial reporting matters,” OSG 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 decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. since November 2016.

BlueMountain holds 12.31 percent stake

BlueMountain Capital Management, LLC reported a 12.31 percent stake in Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. as of March 30, 2017.

Chaired by Douglas D. Wheat

Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. is chaired by Douglas D. Wheat.

Wheat has served as Chairman of the Board of the Company since December 19, 2014.

CEO: Samuel H. Norton

Samuel H. Norton serves as CEO of Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. Samuel H. Norton was appointed to CEO and President of OSG in December 2016.

Prior to this, he served as Senior Vice President and President and CEO of the U.S. Flag Strategic Business Unit in July 2016 and has served on the Board of Directors since August 2014. Prior to joining OSG, Norton Co-Founded SeaChange Maritime, LLC in 2006 and served as its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

On the job as CFO since 2016

Christopher W. Wolf has been Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President at Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. since December 29, 2016.

Wolf has extensive experience as a Chief Financial Officer, having served in this role at several companies—both publicly-listed as well as privately-owned—including most recently at Higher One Holdings, Inc., a publicly-traded provider of technology-based refund disbursement, payment processing and data analytics services to higher education institutions and students, where he worked from 2013 to 2016.

Earlier in his career, Wolf was a Chief Financial Officer at Acxiom Corporation and Catalina Marketing.

He began his career at Arthur Andersen, LLP.

Wolf received his B.S. in Accounting from Florida State University and a Master of Accounting from the University of North Carolina.

Wolf is a Certified Public Accountant.

Unplanned

As a general rule, when a top leader announces to step aside with no successor in place, it is a sign that the change was unplanned and too early.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Chris Wolf’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 27.2017 ($).