The bank appointed HSBC’s Head of Retail Banking Francesca McDonagh as its new chief executive and she took up her new role in October.
Shares in baked goods group Aryzta witnessed big gains in February after its chief executive Owen Killian announced his resignation from the role.
The company had been under pressure for some time with a falling share price following a string of acquisitions.
The company’s chief financial officer Patrick McEniff and John Yamin, CEO of the Americas, also left the company this year.
Owen Killian was replaced at the top role in Aryzta by Kevin Toland, the former CEO of Dublin Airport Authority. Before his role at Dublin Airport, Mr Toland was President of Glanbia USA & Global Nutritionals, a division of Glanbia.
Kerry Group’s chief executive Stan McCarthy retired from the food group in September, after holding the position for nine and a half years.
He was succeeded by Edmond Scanlon, who had lead the company’s operations in Asia Pacific.
During the year, Mr McCarthy joined the board of Ryanair in a non-executive role.
In August, Paddy Power Betfair’s chief executive Breon Corcoran announced that he was leaving the company.
Mr Corcoran has been in the role since the £7 billion merger of Paddy Power and Betfair was completed last year.
He had been Paddy Power’s chief operations officer, but left for Betfair in 2011.
Mr Corcoran will be replaced at Paddy Power Betfair by Peter Jackson, who has been UK chief executive of payments group Worldpay.
Malaysia Airlines CEO Peter Bellew left the airline after just over a year in charge to return to Ryanair as chief operations officer to tackle the pilot shortages that has resulted in it cancelling over 20,000 flights over the winter season.
Mr Bellew resumed working at Ryanair in December.
He has an eventful start to his resumed career there as the airline decided to recognise unions for the first time in its history in order to avert strike action by its pilots at a number of its bases around Europe, including Dublin.
Mr Bellew was director of flight operations at Ryanair before he left in 2014. He joined Malaysia as chief operations officer in September 2015 and took over as chief executive in July last year.
Independent News and Media CEO Robert Pitt announced he was leaving the company in October to pursue other interests.
Mr Pitt had been involved in a dispute with INM Chairman Leslie Buckley about a potential takeover of the radio station Newstalk, which is owned by INM’s largest shareholder, businessman Denis O’Brien.
The discussions about a takeover of Newstalk never resulted in a formal proposal to the board of INM but the internal dispute reportedly prompted Mr Pitt to make a whistleblower disclosure to the Office of the Director of Corporate
Mr Pitt was replaced at INM by Michael Doorly later that month.
The London Stock Exchange’s chief executive Xavier Rolet left his position in November – earlier than had been expected – after the bourse’s clash with a top shareholder dragged in the Bank of England.
Rolet had already announced he would step down at the end of 2018.
But shareholder TCI, an activist hedge fund, had accused LSE chairman Donald Brydon of pushing him out.
Rolet is credited with turning the LSE into a more solid, diversified exchange group, but the Frenchman and former investment banker was unable to seal a merger with Deutsche Boerse.
Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise fell in November after chief executive Meg Whitman’s decision to step down from the role took Wall Street by surprise.
Whitman is one the most high-profile executives in the US and will hand over the reins to company veteran Antonio Neri. She is due to leave the company in February.
HPE is in the middle of a restructuring to cut costs, invest in research and focus on high-margin businesses. Its mainstay server business has been struggling as customers increasingly buy non-branded, assembled servers that are much cheaper.
In a surprise move in February, Ralph Lauren announced that CEO Officer Stefan Larsson would leave the company after a creative clash with the fashion brand’s founder. He had held the position for just two years.
He was replaced by Patrice Louvet, who had previously worked as global beauty president at Procter & Gamble.
In September, the CEO of Equifax retired from the credit reporting bureau with a pay day worth as much as $90m-or roughly 63 cents for every customer whose data was potentially exposed in its huge security breach.
Richard Smith was the third Equifax executive to retire under pressure after its massive data breach which put the personal information of as many as 143 million people at risk.
Smith joined Equifax as CEO in 2005 after spending more than two decades at General Electric, where he worked in divisions focusing on plastics, modular homes, car fleets and insurance.
Over almost 12 years at Equifax, the company’s stock more than quadrupled before the breach was announced.
Mondelez International chief executive CEO Irene Rosenfeld retired in November, bringing an end to her time at the helm of the $26 billion global snack and candy company known for brands like Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers.
As one of the relatively few female CEOs of a Fortune 500 company, Rosenfeld cut costs, overhauled the company’s global supply chain network and worked to position Mondelez for growth in a changing food industry.
Rosenfeld became CEO of Kraft in 2006, orchestrated a hostile takeover of Cadbury in 2010 and then oversaw the spin-off of Kraft Foods, the North American grocery portion of the company, from the newly formed Mondelez.
Resignations from Sept to Dec:
Equifax CEO Richard Smith Sep. 26, 2017
Dentsply Sirona Inc CEO Jeffrey T. Slovin Oct. 2, 2017
Greater Naples CEO Paul Thein Oct. 4, 2017
Pepsico CEO D Shivakumar Oct. 9, 2017
Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun Oct. 12, 2017
Oman Air CEO Paul Gregorowitsch Oct. 16, 2017
ASCENDAS Funds Management CEO Chia Nam Toon Oct. 20, 2017
Hudson’s Bay CEO Gerald Storch Oct. 20, 2017
Red Cross Texas Gulf Coast Region CEO David Brady Oct. 28, 2017
BuildDirect CEO Jeff Booth Oct. 29, 2017
Podesta Group founder Tony Podesta Oct. 30, 2017
Menninger Clinic CEO Dr. C. Edward Coffey Oct. 31, 2017
Renaissance Technologies CEO Robert Mercer Nov. 2, 2017
Ardent Leisure CEO Simon Kelly Nov. 7, 2017
El Al CEO David Maimon Nov. 8, 2017
Altice CEO Michel Combes Nov. 9, 2017
Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane CEO Themba Dlamini Nov. 14, 2017
James Cancer Hospital CEO Michael Caligiuri Nov. 16, 2017
PR Electric Power Authority CEO Ricardo L. Ramos Nov. 17, 2017
Ellies CEO Wayne Samson Nov. 21, 2017
Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman Nov. 22, 2017
Oi SA CEO Marco Schroeder Nov. 24, 2017
Tumblr CEO David Karp Nov. 27, 2017
London Stock Exchange CEO Xavier Rolet Nov. 28, 2017
Bruce Telecom CEO Bart Cameron Nov. 29, 2017
TravelCenters of America LLC CEO Thomas O’Brien Nov. 30, 2017
Tricentennial Commission CEO Edward Benavides Nov. 30, 2017
City Light CEO Larry Weis Dec. 4, 2017
Steinhoff’s R100bn CEO Markus Jooste Dec. 5, 2017
Uchumi Supermarkets CEO Julius Kipng’etich Dec. 6, 2017
Chicago Public Schools CEO Forrest Claypool Dec. 8, 2017
Deutsche Boerse CEO Carsten Kengeter Dec. 8, 2017
Nation Media Group CEO Joe Muganda Dec. 11, 2017
Cheil Worldwide CEO Daiki Lim Dec. 11, 2017
Fenway Health CEO Dr. Stephen L. Boswell Dec. 11, 2017
Diebold/Nixdorf CEO Andy Mattes Dec. 14, 2017
Diebold/Nixdorf CEO Andy Mattes Dec. 14, 2017
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson Dec. 15, 2017
Vast Resources CEO Roy Pitchford Dec. 18, 2017
Spackman Entertainment Group CEO Charles Spackman Dec. 18, 2017
ESPN President John Skipper Dec. 18, 2017
Innogy CEO Peter Terium Dec. 20, 2017
Papa John CEO John Schnatter Dec. 22, 2017
NYPD Police Chief Carlos Gomez retires Dec. 22, 2017
Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt Dec. 22, 2017
New York: It’s that special season when we reflect on those titans of business who held centre stage this year. But let’s not forget those folks who made an impact just by retreating (or being pushed off) to the wings.
So here is Gadfly’s 2017 toast to the departed.
Travis Kalanick, Uber
Uber Technologies Inc. had weathered many scandals in its relatively short life. But by midyear, mounting legal and moral crises and a leadership drain proved too much, and Kalanick was forced to step down as chief executive officer (CEO).
The big question is whether, on balance, he helped Uber more than he hurt it. In part because of decisions he made as CEO, and enabled by many others, the company faces angry regulators, an annoyed judge in a court battle with Google’s corporate cousin, a workplace culture cleanup, and a fractured board and investor base. If SoftBank does buy a large slug of Uber stock, it will clarify that the company is worth less than investors believed a couple of years ago.
Yet Uber likely wouldn’t have become such a force if Kalanick hadn’t been a “brilliant jerk,” to use the words of one director. Kalanick’s legacy now depends on whether his successor can calm Uber’s storms and prove the company is financially viable. At stake is not only the billions of dollars invested but the fate of an entire category of post-recession tech startups that were more disruptive than anything seen before — both in good ways and sometimes destructive ways.
Jeff Immelt, GE
Jeff Immelt held the top post at GE for 16 long years before finally stepping down in August. According to his Harvard Business Review profile (written by himself, naturally), Immelt’s legacy is one of innovation, digital investment and the transformation of a General Electric Co. portfolio that “was simply too broad and too opaque.” GE’s stock price tells a somewhat different story, one of poor capital allocation, a business mix that’s still “too broad and too opaque” and a culture where bad news travelled slowly.
Since Immelt’s departure, GE has been forced to admit its cash flow isn’t sufficient to support a dividend he raised just last year and radically walk back earnings guidance he affirmed literally on his way out the door. Meanwhile, GE hung a for-sale sign on its stake in Baker Hughes, a GE Co., a legacy of Immelt’s mistimed oil and gas acquisitions.
Immelt did generally have the right idea on investing in software to make industrial machinery run more effectively, but his push to become the be-all-end-all digital provider for industrial companies was too grandiose. GE says his departure was planned years ahead, but there was hardly ever a company more in need of fresh eyes. Maybe it still is.
Hugh Hendry, Eclectica Asset Management
Hugh Hendry’s September decision to shutter his London-based Eclectica Fund after 15 years highlights the existential threat central banks pose to macro hedge funds. These have struggled for several years as quantitative easing distorts asset prices.
Investors are voting with their pocket books, with even the most storied managers suffering outflows. Paul Tudor Jones, for example, oversaw about $7 billion of assets by the end of the third quarter, half what he managed in mid-2015.
Hendry lost 3.8% in August, mostly betting on rising German bund yields. “The most distorted asset class in the world is the two-year German bond,” he told Bloomberg Television on 15 Sept., the day after announcing his retirement as a hedge fund guy.
Not much has changed since. That German two-year yield ended August at -0.73%; it’s currently -0.67%, versus a five-year average of about -0.3%. With central banks still setting the price of money, the ranks of the global macro gang keep thinning.
Mickey Drexler, J. Crew
Mickey Drexler has been hailed as retail’s Merchant Prince. His vision fuelled Gap Inc.’s 90’s-era heyday. Later, he led a renaissance of J. Crew Group Inc., presiding over the period when its bright hues, mismatched prints and sequins-as-daywear aesthetic commanded huge sales and influence.
But he stepped down this summer. Shoppers have been fleeing the chain after several years of ill-fitting garments, baffling price points and a so-so e-commerce plan.
Drexler’s fall shows just how much retail has changed. Trends move faster, e-commerce is booming and malls are floundering.
Drexler and Jenna Lyons—the creative director responsible for J. Crew’s comeback-era look who also left this year—are glaring examples of hubris. The pair seemed to believe Lyons could simply decide what was cool—fancy pajamas as an outfit, anyone?—and shoppers would follow. The rise of social media, however, means fashion springs increasingly from below rather than descending from on high. Lyons and Drexler missed that shift.
Having scored the top job at J. Crew after being forced out at Gap, Drexler may yet rise again. But a resurgence seems unlikely: Apparel finally seems to have outgrown him.
Joe Jimenez, Novartis
Novartis AG CEO Joe Jimenez accomplished plenty in eight years. He presided over $49 billion in deals; the company’s pharma division has mostly weathered generic competition for its former bestseller Gleevec; and a deal with University of Pennsylvania academics led to a pioneering cancer therapy.
But he also leaves a long to-do list for Vasant Narasimhan, who succeeds him in February.
The decision to spin off, sell, or keep struggling eye-care business Alcon has been postponed. Ditto deciding what to do with Novartis’s $14 billion stake in Roche Holding AG and its $10 billion stake in a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline PLC.
There’s also the need to deliver a long-promised return to sales growth. Meanwhile, price competition is rising for generic unit Sandoz, and Gilenya, Novartis’s current best-seller, comes off patent in 2019.
Novartis simply needs more sales driver—meaning more deals. But it faces the same obstacles as its peers, especially high valuations, as companies chasing growth who should know better keep throwing good money after bad drugs and everyone crowds into the same drug classes. Meanwhile, no company seems willing to commit to fixing a fundamentally broken drug-pricing model.
John Bryant, Kellogg
John Bryant left his CEO post at Kellogg Co. this fall on a soggy note: The cereal giant’s stock is having by far its worst year since the last recession.
America’s leading packaged-food companies face an identity crisis. The very products responsible for turning them into household names no longer fill grocery carts. Away from sugary cereals, it’s the aisles where fresh, less-processed and convenient foods are found that have become prime real estate, and upstart brands have seized it.
Long-time CEOs of General Mills Inc. and Mondelez International Inc. also stepped down this year. But Bryant’s departure speaks the loudest, perhaps because he’s only 52 years old.
His successor, Steve Cahillane, who was hired from Nature’s Bounty, has already turned to pricey bolt-on deals to revamp Kellogg’s portfolio. Still, the company has a history of dropping the ball on brands it acquires that could have been booming, such as Kashi organic granola. Pricing pressure, intensified by Amazon.com Inc.’s Whole Foods purchase, hasn’t helped. It feels a bit like Bryant and the board finally threw their hands up. Unless Cahillane has the right growth recipe, Kellogg could wind up on someone else’s shopping list.
And with that, it only remains to say (or paraphrase) that sometimes, nothing becomes a person’s job quite like the manner of their leaving it. And sometimes, it’s just time to go. Bloomberg Gadfly