Fortune Brands (NYSE:FO) is doing something we didn’t expect to see, at least not any time soon. Its CEO & Chairman, Norm Wesley, is transitioning out of the CEO role effective January 1, 2008. The company’s COO & President, Bruce Carbonari was elected CEO effective January 1, 2008. What is odd is that Norm Wesley is only 57 years old, and we had just named him one of the entrenched CEO’s early this year.
Wesley is continuing to evaluate strategic initiatives, including the interest in and sale of Absolut Vodka. Carbonari has been with Fortune Brands for 17 years and he’s been an officer since 1999, so it isn’t as though this is a newbie taking the helm from an industry leader.
This has to make you wonder if the millions being thrown around out there in private equity didn’t lure Mr. Wesley away as a contract CEO or CEO advisor. Carbonari has to know that Wesley has had a good reputation, and following in his footsteps will be some tough shoes to fill.
Jon C. Ogg
August 20, 2007
Jon Ogg can be reached at email@example.com; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.