Regis CEO Hugh Sawyer leaves

  • Push-out Score determined
  • After about three and a half years in the position
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Sawyer
  • Felipe Athayde taking over
  • Sawyer said 78 words

(exechange) — Minneapolis, Minnesota, September 8, 2020 — This news came the day after Labor Day. Hugh Sawyer, chief executive of Regis, leaves. As announced by Regis Corp. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, Hugh E. Sawyer leaves his post as chief executive officer at the operator of hair salons after about three and a half years in the role, effective October 5, 2020.

Hugh Sawyer’s duties as CEO will be taken over by Felipe A. Athayde, most recently President, Americas of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

It is a generational change as well. Felipe Athayde is about 24 years younger than Hugh Sawyer.

The fact that Hugh Sawyer’s successor is brought in from outside suggests that the board may seek to stimulate change with fresh ideas and new initiatives.

In general, an outsider does not have the constraints of an insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions.

“Execute strategic change”

Regis did not give an explicit reason for Hugh Sawyer’s departure from the CEO post. Virginia Gambale, Regis’ Lead Independent Director, said: “With a proven track record of growing franchised businesses and a demonstrated ability to execute strategic change, Felipe is the ideal person to assume this role at a pivotal time for Regis.”

Precise information regarding Hugh Sawyer’s future plans was not immediately available.


Regis said: “Hugh Sawyer, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, will retire from active management and his current roles, effective October 5, 2020.”

Regis further said: “Felipe A. Athayde will succeed Hugh E. Sawyer as the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and President and will be appointed as a director on the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”), effective on October 5, 2020 (the “Start Date”).  Mr. Sawyer has informed the Company that he will retire as Chief Executive Officer and President of the Company and resign as a member and Chairman of the Board effective immediately prior to such date (the “Departure Date”).”

Share price decline

The announcement follows a decline in Regis Corp.’s share price of 37% since April 2017.

In the position of CEO since 2017

Hugh Sawyer became CEO of the Company in 2017.

The Board has elected Daniel Beltzman, current Regis Director, to the role of Chairman of the Board, also effective upon Sawyer’s retirement. Sawyer will remain with Regis as an executive advisor through September 2021 to support the transition.

Sawyer’s bio reads as follows:

  • President & CEO, Regis Corporation since April 2017
  • Managing Director, Huron Consulting Group Inc., a management consulting firm (2010 –2017)
  • Interim President & CEO, JHT Holdings (2010 – 2012)
  • Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Restructuring Officer, Fisker Automotive Inc. (January 2013 – October 2013)
  • Interim President, Euramax International (February 2014 – August 2015)
  • Including Regis, he has served as President or CEO of Wells Fargo Armored Services Corporation, The Cunningham Group, Inc., National Linen Services, Inc., Aegis Communications Group, Inc., Allied Holdings, and Legendary Holdings, Inc.


  • Member of the Turnaround Management Association (TMA)
  • Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP)
  • Recipient TMA’s “2011 Large Company Turnaround of the Year” Award
  • Recipient TMA’s “2012 Mid-Size Company Turnaround of the Year” Award


BA, with academic honors, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Push-out Score determined

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange gauges the pressure surrounding the management change on a scale of 0 to 10.

exechange reached out to Regis and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 37.2020 ($).