C-Suite Transitions – Honest Company Names General Mills Veteran Carla Vernón as CEO

  • December 15, 2022

Welcome to edition 19 of  C-Suite Transitions, a new weekly series on InsideArbitrage that tracks appointments and departures at publicly traded companies during the prior week. We highlight five appointments and departures each week by picking the largest companies from the full list of management changes.

Sudden Departures

  1. ​Digital Realty Trust (DLR): On December 13, 2022, the board of the company approved the termination of William A. Stein as Chief Executive Officer of the company without cause, effective immediately.
  2. Honest Company (HNST): On December 13, 2022, The Honest Company announced Nick Vlahos will leave his current role as Chief Executive Officer, effective January 9, 2023.
  3. ITT (ITT): On December 12, 2022, ITT announced that, as part of a planned succession process, Mary Beth Gustafsson will step down as the company’s Senior Vice President & General Counsel effective December 31, 2022.
  4. OptiNose (OPTN): On December 5, 2022, Michele Janis informed OptiNose, of her resignation as the acting Chief Financial Officer to accept a Chief Financial Officer role at a privately-held company, which resignation will become effective on December 30, 2022.
  5. First Financial Corp. (BAFN): On December 9, 2022, BayFirst National Bank’s employment of their Executive Vice President and Chief Banking Officer Matthew M. Luckey was terminated.
  6. HyreCar (HYRE): On December 8, 2022, HyreCar announced Joseph Furnari, the company’s Chief Executive Officer’s, unpaid leave of absence from the company for an indefinite period pending investigations being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the Department of Justice’s Criminal Fraud Section. The investigations are related to insider trading, including among other things, entry into 10b5-1 plans. The timing is interesting considering the SEC announced reforms to 10b5-1 plans yesterday to prevent gaming of these plans by company insiders.
  7. LianBio (LIAN): On December 13, 2022, LianBio announced that Debra Yu, President, and Chief Strategy Officer, has decided to resign, effective January 1, 2023, to pursue other business and professional interests and opportunities.

The Honest Company names former Amazon.com (AMZN) and General Mills (GIS) Veteran Carla Vernón as CEO

Honest Company (HNST)

Founded in 2012 by actress Jessica Alba and headquartered in Los Angeles, California, The Honest Company is an American digital-first consumer goods company focused on the clean lifestyle movement. Honest offers eco-friendly products such as skincare, bath, baby clothing, diapers, home cleaning, and health and wellness products

IPO

The Honest Company went public in 2021, raising $412.8 M in an initial public offering at a $1.44 B valuation. The IPO was priced at $16 per share and the stock peaked at $23.88 per share. Supply chain issues and growing losses caused the stock to decline sharply to its current price of $3.12, an 87% drop peak-to-trough.

CEO announcement

On December 13, 2022, Honest Company announced that Carla Vernón, a former Amazon and General Mills executive, has been named the company’s new CEO effective January 9, 2023. After nearly six years as CEO, Nick Vlahos will step down from operations but will remain on the Honest Company’s Board of Directors.

I am thrilled Carla is joining The Honest Company as our next CEO. She is a strategic, visionary leader who will continue to build Honest as the legacy brand for tomorrow’s generation,” said Founder and Chief Creative Officer Jessica Alba.

Carla is widely recognized as a transformational leader and purpose-driven executive. She brings invaluable experience scaling and energizing businesses, developing and executing successful omnichannel strategies, and fostering diverse and inclusive workplace cultures,” said James D. White, chair of The Honest Company board of directors.

About Carla Vernón

Ms. Vernón previously held the position of Vice President of Consumables at Amazon, where she orchestrated a $56 billion portfolio that includes all baby, beauty, household, food, beverage, health, and wellness products. She also played a major role in revitalizing the beauty experience on Amazon.com, adding more emerging beauty brands to the portfolio, developing the first-ever seasonal beauty merchandising event called the Holiday Beauty Haul, and introducing a proprietary virtual lipstick try-on technology.

Prior to joining Amazon, Ms. Vernón served at General Mills for more than two decades in a number of leadership roles. Vernon began working for General Mills in 1998 as a marketing associate. Prior to managing a $1.5 billion snack portfolio that included companies like Nature Valley, Fiber One, Larabar, and Cascadian Farms, Vernon held positions at Yoplait. Ms. Vernon also held leadership positions in Annie’s brand, which General Mills acquired in 2014 for $820 million.

Ms. Vernón is also a member of Princeton University’s board of trustees.

As a leader of the clean lifestyle movement, The Honest Company is uniquely positioned to meet the needs of this era and I am thrilled to join Jessica and the leadership team with a fresh perspective as we enter a new chapter of innovation and growth,” said Vernón.

Ms. Vernón first partnered with Honest on account of a partnership with Amazon beginning in 2021, where they collaborated to launch a fully digital-first version of The Honest Company store on Amazon.com. Vernón will focus on boosting profitability and category growth in her new position.

Nick Vlahos

Vlahos has held the CEO position at Honest since March 2017, scaling the company from a startup to a publicly traded, globally recognized brand. Prior to joining The Honest Company, Vlahos served as COO at The Clorox Company and as VP and GM of Burt’s Bees.

Third Quarter 2022 Revenue by Product Category

Honest Company’s revenue increased by 2% to $85 million for Q3 2022, compared to Q3 2021. Diapers & Wipes represented 65% of revenue this quarter and were up 3%, following 9% growth in the second quarter. Revenue from Skin and Personal Care represented 26% of total third-quarter 2022 revenue and were down 13% in Q3 2022 compared to Q3 2021. The Health & Wellness business increased 115%, representing nearly 10% of revenue.

In the third quarter, revenue was split roughly at 60% retail and 40% digital. A 14% decline in digital channel revenue was driven by an inventory adjustment at a key digital customer and a reduction in digital marketing spending in the face of rising advertising costs.

Valuation

The Honest Company is down 62% this year, significantly underperforming the S&P 500. The company reported that adjusted EBITDA for the Q3 2022 was negative $5.6 million. Excluding the product donation, adjusted EBITDA was negative $4 million. The company ended the third quarter with $41 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments with no debt. The Honest Company also reported that it continues to expect full-year adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of negative $10 million to negative $20 million.

The stock trades at less than 1 time sales. With $41 million in cash and over $100 million in inventory, Ms. Vernón has some room to turn the company around but she clearly has her work cut out for her.

Appointments

1.  Genuine Parts Co. (GPC): $179.08

On December 7, 2022, Genuine Parts Company announced that the company’s Board of Directors has appointed William P. Stengel to the position of President and Chief Operating Officer.

MarketCap: $25.13B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days):  920,439 Revenue (TTM): $21.38B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 5.55% ROE (TTM): 34.52% Net Debt: $3.39B
P/E: -9.38% Forward P/E: 21.19 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 13.58
P/S (TTM): 1.21 P/B (TTM): 7.01 52 Week Range: $112.84 – $187.73

2. ITT Inc (ITT): $81.44

On December 12, 2022, ITT announced that, Lori B. Marino, formerly Deputy General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of the company, will return to assume the role of Senior Vice President & General Counsel effective January 1, 2023.

MarketCap: $6.82B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days):  403,521 Revenue (TTM): $2.90B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 12.26% ROE (TTM): 17.16% Net Debt: $98.3M
P/E: 19.57 Forward P/E: 15.80 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 25.49
P/S (TTM): 2.35 P/B (TTM): 3.24 52 Week Range: $63.33 – $103.53

3. CNO Financial Group Inc (CNO): $22.36

On December 8, 2022, CNO Financial Group announced  Jean Linnenbringer as Chief Operations Officer and Mike Mead as Chief Information Officer effective January 1, 2023.

MarketCap: $2.55B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days):  620,693 Revenue (TTM): $3.68B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 12.76% ROE (TTM): 14.37% Net Debt: $3.16B
P/E: 27.02 Forward P/E: 11.26 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 10.47
P/S (TTM): 1.10 P/B (TTM): 4.18 52 Week Range: $16.33 – $26.04

4. Krispy Kreme Inc (DNUT): $14.54

On December 8, 2022, the Board of Directors of Krispy Kreme  appointed Jeremiah Ashukian, as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the company. He is expected to commence employment with the company on January 9, 2023.

MarketCap: $2.45B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days): 1,024,049 Revenue (TTM): $1.50B
Net Income Margin (TTM): -0.77% ROE (TTM): -0.27% Net Debt: $1.08B
P/E: -0.27% Forward P/E: N/A EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 24.85
P/S (TTM): 1.60 P/B (TTM): 2.04 52 Week Range: $11.22 – $19.36

5. Veritiv Corp (VRTV): $131.10

The Board of Veritiv has appointed Eric J. Guerin to serve initially as Senior Vice President – Finance beginning on January 1, 2023 and then as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer effective March 1, 2023.

MarketCap: $1.79B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days):93,318 Revenue (TTM): $7.35B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 4.40% ROE (TTM): 51.63% Net Debt: $716M
P/E: 6.15 Forward P/E: N/A EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 5.65
P/S (TTM): 0.28 P/B (TTM): 2.73 52 Week Range: $85.15 – $160.31

Departures

1. Chewy (CHWY): $42.85

On December 8, 2022, Chewy announced that Mario Marte, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, intends to retire from the company on a date to be determined in 2023. He served Chewy as CFO for a period of 4 years 7 months.

MarketCap: $18.87B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days):  3,574,889 Revenue (TTM): $9.78B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 0.92% ROE (TTM): -17.81% Net Debt: $2.72B
P/E: N/A Forward P/E: N/A EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 545.04
P/S (TTM): 1.90 P/B (TTM): 112.71 52 Week Range: $22.22 – $61.47

2. STORE Capital Corp (STOR): $31.99

STORE Capital Corporation, a Maryland corporation announced that, effective December 9, 2022, Sherry L. Rexroad, the company’s Executive Vice President – Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer and Assistant Secretary, is stepping down as an officer of the company.

She served as CFO for a tenure of 1 year 2 months. STORE Capital is currently in the midst of a $14 billion acquisition by GIC and Oak Street.

MarketCap: $9.03B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days): 2,743,842 Revenue (TTM): $880.69M
Net Income Margin (TTM): 36.46% ROE (TTM): 6.14% Net Debt: $4.84
P/E: 27.80 Forward P/E: 26.67 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 17.34
P/S (TTM): 10.03 P/B (TTM): 1.69 52 Week Range: $23.82 – $33.62

3. ITT Inc (ITT): $81.44

On December 12, 2022, ITT  announced that, as part of a planned succession process, Mary Beth Gustafsson will step down as the company’s Senior Vice President & General Counsel effective December 31, 2022. Mary served as General Counsel for a tenure of 8 years and 10 months.

MarketCap: $6.82B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days):  403,521 Revenue (TTM): $2.90B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 12.26% ROE (TTM): 17.16% Net Debt: $98.3M
P/E: 19.57 Forward P/E: 15.80 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 25.49
P/S (TTM): 2.35 P/B (TTM): 3.24 52 Week Range: $63.33 – $103.53

4. Jack In The Box (JACK): $68.92

On December 12, 2022, Jack in the Box announced that Tim Mullany, the company’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will be leaving the company effective February 2, 2023. Mullany’s departure is due to personal reasons.

MarketCap: $1.37B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days):438,448 Revenue (TTM): $1.47B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 7.89% ROE (TTM): -14.90% Net Debt: $3.16B
P/E: 12.13 Forward P/E: 12.80 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 14.71
P/S (TTM): 4.90 P/B (TTM): 1.44 52 Week Range: $60.12 – $164.84

5. CNO Financial Group (CNO): $22.36

On December 8, 2022, CNO Financial Group announced that Bruce Baude, the company’s Chief Operations and Technology Officer, will be leaving the company effective December 31, 2022. Baude’s separation results from the company’s elimination of his role and is an involuntary termination by the company without “Just Cause”.

MarketCap: $2.55B Avg. Daily Volume (30 days): 620,693 Revenue (TTM): $3.68B
Net Income Margin (TTM): 12.76% ROE (TTM): 14.37% Net Debt: $3.16B
P/E: 5.71 Forward P/E: 9.94 EV/EBIDTA (TTM): 5.31
P/S (TTM): 0.74 P/B (TTM): 2.00 52 Week Range: $16.33 – $26.04

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