Internal Email: Diebold CEO Pushed Out

From @AmerBanker:

Thomas W. Swidarski has stepped down from his positions as president and CEO of Diebold (DBD) and resigned from the company’s board of directors under pressure from the board, a spokesman said.

His resignation was disclosed in an SEC filing Thursday along with fourth quarter results after a series of disappointments that have frustrated investors.

Here’s an internal email I was sent that announced Swidarski’s departure a half hour before the company made his departure public last Thursday:

From: Henry Wallace – Associate Mailbox
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 8:30 AM
To: DL-Diebold All; DL-Sales Agents
Subject: Diebold making senior leadership changes
Importance: High

 Dear Associates:

 My communication to you this morning is not easy, but I feel strongly that we share the following announcement with you first.  In a few moments, we will issue a press release announcing that Tom Swidarski is stepping down from Diebold and the board of directors, effective immediately.  The board has begun the search process for a new CEO.  As executive chairman of Diebold, I will assume leadership of the company until that person is in place.

In addition, we have promoted George Mayes, executive vice president, global operations, to chief operating officer (COO).  George will report directly to me and will oversee our daily operations.  

 First, let me discuss Tom’s departure. Tom has provided strong leadership and integrity during his 17-year career at Diebold including the past seven years as chief executive.  During his tenure Tom developed a sound strategy and helped move the company forward on several fronts.  More importantly, he re-engaged our associates and customers during a very critical time. 

 That said, given Diebold’s ongoing performance, the board has decided it is in the best interest of all our stakeholders – including our associates, our customers and our shareholders – to make these leadership changes at this time.  Tom and I have spoken at length about his departure and what comes through most clearly is his passion for Diebold, his high regard for each and every one of you and his optimism for the future – his and ours.  I hope you’ll join me in thanking Tom for his leadership and wish him well in the next step in his career.  If you wish, please send Tom a personal note here.

 To help you better understand this decision; it is important that you review the other press release we issued this morning.  This announcement provides a preliminary view of our fourth quarter and year-end financial results.  It is clear that we need to better execute on our strategies to extract greater value from the company.

 Looking ahead, we need to focus more effectively on our operational transformation. The board feels Diebold’s strategies are sound given the company’s progress in key areas such as integrated services and the growth potential of electronic security.  As COO, George will look at all aspects of our organization and identify areas that will help us accelerate our transformation — including better execution on our strategy and delivering on opportunities in the marketplace.  Included here is a high-level organization chart that shows how our leadership and operational lines will be initially structured under George and me.  Obviously, these reporting relationships can change as we execute our transformational plans. 

 George has a track record of delivering sound, fiscally responsible results during his career, which make him ideally suited for this role.  As we move forward, George and our other leaders will communicate with you often through this transition process.  We will need your collaboration and partnership in the months ahead, and I know you each will rise to the occasion.

 I believe in our long-term strategy and am confident in our ability to put this great company back on a more positive trajectory.  I am looking forward to sharing more with you in the near term.  If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to email me here.

 Best regards,

Henry D.G. Wallace

Executive Chairman 

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