Debney Out at AOBC/Smith & Wesson On Eve Of SHOT Show

James Debney, CEO and President of American Outdoor Brands, was dismissed by the Board of Directors today. He had been slated to be the CEO of the American Outdoor Brands sporting goods segment when the company splits later this year.

From The Guardian

From the news release:

American Outdoor Brands Corporation, today announced that its Board of Directors has named Mark P. Smith and Brian D. Murphy as co-Presidents and co-Chief Executive Officers of American Outdoor Brands Corp., 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 Chief Executive Officer 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 “inconsistent” conduct was not specified in the release.

Mark Smith was already slated to head the new Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. after the spin-off.

Brian Murphy is now going to become the CEO and President of American Outdoor Brands, Inc. after the company is split into a sporting goods segment and a firearms segment.

Coming just before SHOT Show starts in less than a week, this is an interesting development.

The new release goes on to quote the Chairman of the Board Barry Monheit as saying:

We appreciate James’ contributions toward the growth and development of our company and its infrastructure.  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.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the spokesperson for the company did not provide any details on why Debney was fired beyond what is contained in the news release. Their article also takes note that the firing occurred just days before the SHOT Show was to begin.

Debney earned $3.76 million in compensation for the last year. Most of that compensation was due to bonuses and stock awards on top of his $750,000 salary.


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