Sears CFO Jason Hollar leaves abruptly

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After about half a year on the job
  • Thanks and good wishes for Hollar
  • Rob Riecker taking over

(exechange) — Hoffman Estates, Illinois, April 21, 2017 — Jason Hollar, finance chief of Sears, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Sears Holdings Corporation in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, April 21, 2017, Jason M. Hollar leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the retail-store company in a surprising move after about half a year on the job, effective immediately.

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

Hollar’s duties are taken over by Rob Riecker, most recently Controller and Head of Capital Market Activities at Sears Holdings Corporation.

The move is part of a management shake-up also involving the position of President, Fulfillment – Supply Chain and Sourcing.

“To pursue another career opportunity”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Sears said: Riecker “succeeds Jason Hollar, who has resigned from Sears Holdings to pursue another career opportunity”.

The phrase “to pursue another career opportunity” is often used in corporate announcements and opens the door to speculation.

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

Wake-up call

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

“Resigning”

Sears said: Jason M. Hollar “notified the Company on April 17, 2017 that he was resigning from his position as Chief Financial Officer of the Company to pursue another career opportunity.”

“Not due to any disagreement”

“Mr. Hollar has advised the Company that his decision to resign is not due to any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices,” Sears 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 Sears Holdings Corporation since May 2015.

Chaired by Edward S. Lampert

Sears Holdings Corporation is chaired by Edward S. Lampert.

CEO: Edward S. Lampert

Edward S. Lampert serves as CEO of Sears Holdings Corporation. Lampert has been the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Sears Holdings Corporation since February 1, 2013 and since 2004, respectively.

On the job as CFO since 2016

Hollar has been Chief Financial Officer of Sears Holdings Corporation since October 14, 2016.

Hollar joined Sears Holdings in October 2014 as senior vice president, finance overseeing the financial planning & analysis function, the business finance relationship with centralized finance, and procurement.

Prior to joining Sears Holdings, Hollar was at Delphi Automotive, where he served as Vice President and Corporate Controller.

Prior to Delphi, Jason spent the bulk of his career at Navistar International.

He has over 20 years of finance experience including business finance, controllership, strategic planning, financial planning and analysis, and serving as a business unit CFO.

Hollar received a Master’s of Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Accounting from The University of Chicago and a Bachelor’s of Science in Business from Indiana University.

At the time of Hollar’s appointment as Chief Financial Officer at Sears, Edward S. Lampert, then Sears Holdings’ Chairman and CEO, had said: “In his time with the company, Jason has been focused on driving efficiencies and creating value as our company undergoes rapid change. His leadership and financial acumen are important skills as we accelerate our transformation and deliver for our members, associates and shareholders.”

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Jason Hollar’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 17.2017 ($).