PARSIPPANY, N.J. (AP) ¿ Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. said Thursday it has named as its new chief executive the former CEO of industry leader H&R Block Tax Services Inc. Harry W. Buckley, 64, was named Jackson Hewitt president and CEO effective immediately. He is a former member of the Jackson Hewitt board and a former chairman of a major franchisee. Buckley succeeds Michael C. Yerington, who is leaving the company. Buckley will also join the Jackson Hewitt board as a director. Jackson Hewitt's shares rose 11 cents, or 2.6 percent, to close Thursday at $4.30. The company said bringing Buckley is part of its efforts to improve performance. Others actions include contracting with a management consulting company and with financial adviser Goldman, Sachs & Co. to improve financial performance. "While we recognize the challenges of executing any kind of transaction in the current environment, the board has also engaged Goldman Sachs to examine a range of strategic alternatives for Jackson Hewitt," said Margaret Richardson, a former commissioner of Internal Revenue who joined the Jackson Hewitt board in June 2004. "The board will continue to explore all available means of enhancing value for our shareholders as we work closely with Harry and his management team to improve the company's operational and financial performance."
Richardson will continue to serve as non-executive board chairwoman. The board's governance committee has been reviewing the size and composition of the board including a review of candidates suggested by shareholders Buckley was president and chief executive officer of H&R Block from 1988 to 1995. He joined H&R Block in 1968 as a tax preparer and served in a variety of operational and marketing roles. In January 1997, he joined the Jackson Hewitt board. In November 1998, he became chairman of a major Jackson Hewitt franchisee, Tax Services of America, and became a consultant to the company. He retired in 2002. Parsippany, N.J.-based Jackson Hewitt has about 6,600 franchises and company-owned offices throughout the United States during the 2009 tax season.