Scripps CFO Tim Wesolowski leaves abruptly

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After about six years on the job
  • Accolades and praise for Wesolowski
  • Lisa Knutson taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Cincinnati, Ohio, October 03, 2017 — Tim Wesolowski, finance chief of Scripps, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by The E.W. Scripps Company in a news release on Tuesday, October 03, 2017, Timothy M. (Tim) Wesolowski leaves the post as chief financial officer at the broadcasting company after about six years on the job, effective this week.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CFOs who departed over the past twelve months was 5.6 years, according to data compiled by exechange.

Wesolowski’s move comes two months after Adam Symson took over as CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company.

Scripps will undertake a search for a successor.

Wesolowski’s duties are taken over in the interim by Lisa Knutson, currently Chief Strategy Officer at The E.W. Scripps Company.

No reason given

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

Precise information about the future plans of Wesolowski 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.

“Departure”

Scripps said: “The E.W. Scripps Company … will launch a search for a new chief financial officer after the departure this week of Executive Vice President and CFO Tim Wesolowski.”

The E.W. Scripps Company still listed Wesolowski as Executive Vice President/CFO on its leadership page.

“Not related to financial disclosures, accounting practices or legal matters”

“His departure is not related to financial disclosures, accounting practices or legal matters,” Scripps 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.

Chaired by Richard A. Boehne

The E.W. Scripps Company is chaired by Richard A. Boehne.

Boehne was elected chairman by the board in 2013.

CEO: Adam Symson

Adam Symson serves as CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company. Adam Symson, 42, is president and CEO of The E.W. Scripps Company.

He succeeded Rich Boehne upon Boehne’s retirement in August 2017.

On the job as CFO since 2011

Wesolowski had served as CFO since September 2011, overseeing the company’s accounting, finance, treasury, tax, procurement and risk management functions.

He previously spent six years with Cincinnati-based Convergys Corporation, starting as its treasurer before being promoted to the position of senior vice president finance, controller and treasurer.

Prior to Convergys, Wesolowski was a business unit controller and financial director at Ameron International in Dallas.

From 1995 to 2002 he was with Valspar Corporation in Minneapolis, starting as vice president and treasurer before serving three years as general manager and national sales manager in the company’s automotive refinish group.

Wesolowski previously spent eight years as vice president and assistant treasurer at Ecolab Corporation in Minneapolis, and six years in the finance and treasury groups at B.F. Goodrich in Akron, Ohio.

He received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Purdue University, and he serves on the board of trustees for Chatfield College.

Unplanned

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

Generally speaking, potential causes for an unexpected change can be, among others, health reasons, family reasons and surprising new career opportunities.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Tim Wesolowski’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 41.2017 ($).