The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win
Effective immediately, Parts Unlimited CEO, Steve Masters, is stepping down from his role as chairman after eight years of holding that position. Board Director Bob Strauss, who served as company chairman and CEO two decades ago, is returning from retirement to assume the role of chairman.
Parts Unlimited stock has tumbled 19 percent in the last 30 days under heavy trading, down 52 percent from its peak three years ago. The company continues to be outmaneuvered by its arch rival, famous for its ability to anticipate and instantly react to customer needs. Parts Unlimited now trails the competition in sales growth,inventory turns and profitability.
The company has long promised that its “Phoenix” program will restore profitability and close the gap by tightly integrating its retailing and e-commerce channels. Already years late, many expect the company to announce another program delay in its analyst earnings call next month.
We believe that institutional investors such as Wayne-Yokohama pressured Bob to reconfigure the board as the first of many actions to right the ship in Elkhart Grove. A growing number of investors are pushing for more significant leadership changes and strategic options, such as splitting up the company. Despite Masters’ past achievements that transformed Parts Unlimited into one of the top automotive parts manufacturers and retailers, we believe splitting up the chairman and CEO roles is long overdue. Parts Unlimited needs fresh leadership, either from the outside or from within. We believe Sarah Moulton, SVP of Retail Operations, and a rising star at the company, could just be what the company needs.
According to our sources, the board has given Strauss and Masters six months to make dramatic improvements. If they can’t pull this off, expect more changes and turbulent times.
—Kelly Lawrence, Chief Industry Analyst, Nestor Meyers
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|February 11, 2020|
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