Newell Brands announced that President and CEO Michael Polk will retire at the end of the second quarter.
In statement, the company’s board and Polk have agreed that, as the company nears the completion of its Accelerated Transformation Plan, now is the right time for a management transition.
The board has commenced a search process to identify the company’s next CEO, and has retained Heidrick & Struggles, a leading global executive search firm, to assist in a thorough search process.
“On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Mike for his leadership and contributions to Newell Brands,” said Patrick Campbell, non-executive independent chairman of the board. “Mike has played a significant role in developing and executing a strategy to position Newell Brands as a diversified, global branded consumer products company with a portfolio of leading brands in large and growing global categories. While we recognize that there is still work to do to become a leading consumer goods company, we are confident that the company is taking the right steps to execute its transformation, drive growth and increase shareholder value. We appreciate Mike’s continued support to facilitate an orderly transition in the coming months as the Board conducts a comprehensive search for the company’s next chief executive officer.”
“I have been privileged to lead Newell Brands for the past eight years. With the Accelerated Transformation Plan largely complete and the business beginning to turn, I believe now is the right time to transition to the next generation of leadership”, said Mr. Polk. “I am proud of the progress we have made since 2011 transforming the portfolio and building a set of competitively advantaged capabilities in innovation, design and eCommerce. I am committed to working alongside the Board and the management team to ensure a smooth transition over the next few months.”
Polk has faced threats by activist investors as Newell Brands has struggled with weak sales and missed targets since its merger with Jarden Corp. Last month, Newell shares plummeted after the company issued full-year sales and profit forecast below expectations. The company said it was hit by inflationary pressures, including tariffs and a strong dollar.
Newell Brands include Paper Mate, Sharpie, Dymo, EXPO, Parker, Elmer’s, Coleman, Marmot, Oster, Sunbeam, FoodSaver, Mr. Coffee, Graco, Baby Jogger, NUK, Calphalon, Rubbermaid, Contigo, First Alert and Yankee Candle.