American Outdoor Brands Corp. Announces Leadership Transition
SPRINGFIELD — American Outdoor Brands Corp. announced that its board of directors has named Mark Smith and Brian Murphy co-presidents and co-CEOs of the company, effective immediately. Smith was most recently president of the Manufacturing Services Division of the company, while Murphy was most recently president of the Outdoor Products & Accessories Division.
In their co-leadership roles, Smith and Murphy succeed James Debney, who has separated as president and CEO and as a director of the company, following the determination by the board of directors that he engaged in conduct inconsistent with a non-financial company policy.
The company is proceeding with its previously announced plan to spin off its outdoor products and accessories business as a tax-free stock dividend to its stockholders in the second half of 2020, a transaction that would create two independent, publicly traded companies: Smith & Wesson Brands Inc. (which would encompass the firearm business) and American Outdoor Brands Inc. (which would encompass the outdoor products and accessories business). Jeffrey Buchanan, chief financial officer, will continue to serve as the lead executive on coordinating and executing the separation of the two businesses.
Upon completion of the transaction, and as previously announced, Smith will become president and CEO of Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., and Murphy, will become president and CEO of American Outdoor Brands Inc.
“We appreciate James’ contributions toward the growth and development of our company and its infrastructure,” said Barry Monheit, chairman of the board. “The board believes the company is fortunate to have two highly capable and experienced leaders in Mark Smith and Brian Murphy. Each has played a critical role in the development of our strategic plans, including our intention to establish each business as an independent, publicly traded company. In addition, Mark and Brian have each demonstrated, through years of leadership and service, their extensive knowledge of and passion for our company, our customers, and our industries. Their capabilities and objectives position them well to share the combined CEO role as the team completes the separation of our two businesses later in 2020. The board has every confidence that they will provide the vision and determination to lead each independent company and its highly respected brand portfolio toward a successful future.”