Zebra CFO Mike Smiley leaves abruptly

  • Strong signs for push-out forces
  • After almost nine years on the job
  • Laud, praise, thanks and good wishes for Smiley
  • Olivier Leonetti takes over

(management-change.com) — Lincolnshire, Illinois, November 15, 2016 — Mike Smiley, finance chief of Zebra, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Zebra Technologies Corporation in a news release on Tuesday, November 15, 2016, Michael C. (Mike) Smiley leaves the post as Chief Financial Officer at the maker of marking, tracking and computer printing technologies in a surprising move after almost nine years on the job, effective November 16, 2016.

Smiley’s duties are taken over by Olivier Leonetti, most recently Chief Financial Officer at Western Digital Corporation.

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

“To pursue other opportunities”

Smiley’s sudden departure is explained as follows. Zebra said: Michael C. Smiley “is stepping down as Chief Financial Officer to pursue other opportunities”.

The phrase “to pursue other opportunities” is often used in corporate announcements and opens the door to speculation.

Alarm signal

Generally speaking, it is often an alarm signal for stockholders when a CFO leaves the position abruptly and without comprehensible reasons being given.

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

Share price decline

The change follows a decline in the share price of Zebra Technologies Corporation since June 2015.

Chaired by Michael A. Smith 

Zebra Technologies Corporation is chaired by Michael A. Smith .

Michael A. Smith has served as a director of Zebra since 1991 and as Chairman since 2007.

Anders Gustafsson serves as CEO of Zebra Technologies Corporation. Anders Gustafsson became Zebra’s Chief Executive Officer and a director in 2007.

On the job as CFO since 2008

Michael C. Smiley joined Zebra in May 2008 as chief financial officer from Tellabs, Inc., a global provider of telecommunications networking products.

At Tellabs, he led all accounting and finance functions outside of the U.S. and most recently served as general manager for the Tellabs Denmark A/S unit, which has sales in excess of $100 million to customers around the world.

During his six years at Tellabs, Smiley held various financial and operations executive positions including interim chief financial officer, vice president international finance, and treasurer.

Prior to Tellabs, Smiley was located in Taipei, Taiwan, as vice president, finance, for the Asia Pacific region of General Semiconductor, with the corporation’s key manufacturing and revenue-generating operations in the region.

Earlier in his career, he held positions of increasing responsibility at General Instrument, GATX Corp. and Itel Corporation/Anixter Brothers.

He began his professional career as an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand.

Smiley holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Smiley will work with Leonetti to facilitate an orderly transition.

Strong signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Mike Smiley’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by management-change.com suggests strong signs for push-out forces that may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the management-change.com report 43.2016 ($).