Smith & Wesson Parent American Outdoor Brands Replaces Its CEO

Smith & Wesson owner American Outdoor Brands announces that CEO James Debney has left the company 'effective immediately.'
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Smith & Wesson owner American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) - Get Report announced that President, CEO and board director James Debney has left the company after the board found that he engaged in conduct “inconsistent with a non-financial company policy.”

The Springfield, Mass.-based shooting and hunting products maker named executives Mark Smith and Brian Murphy as co-CEOs, and said the planned spinoff of its Smith & Wesson firearm unit from its outdoor products and accessories business is still progressing.

“We appreciate James' contributions toward the growth and development of our company and its infrastructure,” Chairman Barry Monheit said in a statement. Additional details were not provided.

Smith was most recently president of the manufacturing services division of the company, while Murphy was most recently president of the outdoor products and accessories division. 

The company reiterated that it is proceeding with its previously announced plan to spin off the firearm business from its outdoor products and accessories business as a tax-free stock dividend to its stockholders in the second half of 2020.

The transaction will create two independent publicly traded companies: Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., which will encompass the firearm business, and American Outdoor Brands Inc., which will encompass the outdoor products and accessories business.

CFO Jeffrey Buchanan will continue to serve as the lead executive on coordinating and executing the separation of the two businesses.  

Shares of Outdoor Brands were down 0.73% at $9.51 in morning trading Thursday. The stock touched a 52-week low of $5.41 on Oct. 3.