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4 Publicly Traded Companies Conducting CFO Shake Ups in October

There have been a lot of big moves happening in companies across the globe. Many are introducing new rounds of layoffs in response to events such as slow markets, inflation, and the recession, while others are bouncing back nicely from pandemic restrictions.

Many companies are also introducing leadership changes, especially for the CFO position. Some are leaving struggling companies for greener pastures while others are being laid off. Here are 4 publicly traded companies that have made big CFO moves so far in October.

1) Squarespace

Squarespace, the NYC based website building and hosting company, is one of the many publicly traded companies to appoint a new CFO as Nathan Gooden will take over as CFO effective October 18, the company announced in a press release.

The 47 year old is the latest in a string of high level Amazon employees to leave the company for leadership positions in other organizations. Gooden held the job of CFO of Amazon’s Alexa and Echo units since 2017.

Similar to the current market trends, Amazon has been changing from a growth focused mindset to an era of cost-cutting and efficiency. Recently, Amazon stopped all hirings for corporate roles. These big changes for one of the world’s most profitable companies started around the same time that Amazon themselves switched CEOs, after founder and longtime CEO Jeff Bezos stepped down on July 5th and current CEO Andy Jassy took over.

Gooden will receive an annual base salary of $750,000 at Squarespace and a two payment sign-on bonus of half a million dollars according to an SEC filing. He succeeds Marcela Martin who left the company in August.

2) Green Dot

Continuing another recent trend of both internal hirings and CFOs being hired for CEO positions, Green Dot appointed CFO George Gresham as the new CEO after former CEO Dan Henry was fired from the position in mid October.

The fintech payment platform that is used by ApplePay, Uber and Intuit and is also the world's largest prepaid debit card company by market capitalization announced on October 14th that Henry was terminated as CEO and president.

“The Board is confident that George is the right person to lead Green Dot through its next phase of growth, and we are grateful to have a proven leader of George’s caliber and experience to step into the role of Chief Executive,” William I. Jacobs, chairman of Green Dot’s board of directors, said in a statement.

This change comes at a time when Green Dot is going through multiple challenges including a lengthy dispute with Uber in which Green Dot is claiming that they aren’t living up to agreements between the two companies.

In addition to the legal dispute, Green Dot lost millions over a failed merger deal last year. Green Dot was forced to pay Republic Bank $13 million in June to settle the lawsuit that was filed against them last year over Green Dot’s failed attempt to buy Republic’s tax refund processing unit. This was in addition to the $5 million termination fee that Green Dot paid Republic Bank in January.

Despite the financial difficulties stemming from these recent challenges, firing Henry came as a surprise to many. Bloomberg reported that Steven Kwok, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods said: “It would appear the board felt that it was time for change as far as an execution strategy and Mr. Gresham’s extensive industry experience should help him in the CEO role.”

Promoting internally from CFO to CEO is becoming more common and the belief in CFOs’ abilities to take on bigger leadership roles is on display with Green Dot as well as many other companies.

3) Beyond Meat

Beyond Meat is another publicly traded company that made a CFO change this month. After outgoing CFO Phillip Hardin informed the company that he would be stepping down to pursue another opportunity, Lubi Kutua was announced as the new CFO and treasurer.

Kutua was promoted internally from his role as vice president of financial planning and analysis. He has been at the company since 2019, and his base salary increased to $375,000 with his new role. He also will have the opportunity to earn an annual bonus at a target amount of 50% of his base salary, according to the filing.

Additional internal leadership changes at Beyond Meat include Jonothan Nelson, SVP of operations, being appointed to lead operations and supply chain for the company, Deanna Jurgens being laid off with the role of chief growth officer eliminated, and COO Douglas Ramsey stepping down on October 1 after being arrested and charged in September for biting another man's nose in a parking dispute.

Beyond Meat as well as many other companies are going through difficulties and employee shakeups reflective in their move to lay off 200 employees (19% of their total workforce) after their valuation fell from an all time high of $13.4 billion to less than $2 billion this year.

Although the company is going through many challenges, the meat alternative producer said that Hardin’s decision to leave “did not involve any disagreement on any matter related to the Company’s operations, financial reporting, internal controls, policies or practices.”

4) Tripadvisor

Online travel company Tripadvisor announced that they are hiring a new CFO effective October 31. Mike Noonan will fill the position after stepping down as CFO of Noom, a digital weight loss platform. He was Noom’s first ever CFO and held the position since 2020.

Tripadvisor and Noom are two companies that are headed in different directions. Tripadvisor reported that their revenue increased by 77% year over year ($417 million) in Q2 thanks to a huge increase in demand for travel now that most pandemic restrictions are lifted.

On the other hand, Noom announced a round of layoffs at the same time that Nooman stepped down. The company said that there is no connection and they “are two separate, unrelated announcements.”

Noonan will replace outgoing CFO Ernst Teunissen who is retiring from Tripadvisor, although he will be staying with the company through the first quarter of 2023 to ensure a smooth transition with the incoming CFO.

Before working at Noom, Noonan served as the senior vice president and head of investor relations at online travel firm Booking Holdings from 2016 to 2020. Tripadvisor CEO Matt Goldber said that Noonan “brings a dynamic set of experiences across consumer brands and digital business models and a strategic perspective grounded in a deep knowledge of the travel industry, along with a broad and tenured background in corporate finance, long-term financial planning, and capital markets.”

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