Departures which sent the share price soaring

March 5, 2010

Comings and goings of directors and executives at public companies can often cause sharp share price movements. This list tracks corporate departures which sent the share price soaring.

1. John Prescott - BHP (fired)
On March 4, 1998, BHP fired CEO John Prescott sending its shares soaring $1.17 to $15.51 (a gain of 8.2%) which added an amazing $2.4 billion to its market value. Prescott owned 2.04 million shares so his personal wealth soared $2.38 million on the day he was sacked. See ASX announcement.

2. Peter Smedley - Mayne (stepped down as CEO)
Although Smedley's appearance at Mayne drove the shares up 11% on the day of the announcement, his departure in August 2002 triggered an equally impressive 9% gain given that his hospital strategy was a complete stuff up. See ASX announcement.

3. Peter Kazacos - Kaz (stepped down as CEO)
The decision of founder and largest shareholder Kazacos to step down from the CEO role sent the ailing technology company's shares up 1c or over 7%. He will now act as Deputy Chairman and focus on 'strategic initiatives' - meaning he was pushed out but was allowed to save face.

4. Dick Warburton - David Jones (resigned as Chairman)
After finally falling on his sword in the wake of a $75 million write-off of the failed Foodchain venture, Warburton's resignation on 3 June 2003 sent the shares up 6c or 5.4% to $1.16 and they've never looked back. See ASX announcement.

5. Bob Muscat - PMP (resigned)
The announcement on December 20, 2002 that Bob Muscat was to leave PMP sent the company's share price more than 5% higher. See ASX announcement.

6. Ross Adler - Santos (resigned)
Santos shares rallied more than 4% after Adler resigned as managing director of the oil and gas company in March 2000. See ASX announcement.

7. Trevor O'Hoy - Foster's (resigned)
Shares rose more than 3% in a falling market after this statement removing the CEO and admitting the $10 billion wine push over the past decade was a huge blunder that would lead to at least $600 million in write-offs.

8. Michael Hawker - IAG (resigned)
Quit because of shareholder pressure on May 26, 2008, when the insurer's shares rallied 2% in morning trade. See ASX announcement.

9. Bob Mansfield - Telstra (forced out as chairman)
Board coup forced his resignation in 2003 which led to a 12c rally in Telstra shares to $4.68.

10. Keith Lambert - Southcorp (fired)
When Lambert was forced to resign (by his chairman father-in-law) following his disastrous discounting strategies, the stock price increased 4c to $4.43 or 1.14% - a modest gain but quite substantial in the face of a vicious market (though still a long way from the $8.30 high in June 2001).

11. David Leckie - PBL (contract not renewed)
The seemingly rushed 6.30pm announcement on Tuesday 8 January 2002 that Nine stalwart David Leckie would be leaving sent PBL shares up 14c or 1.4%. It is tough to attribute the gain simply to Leckie leaving because at the same time PBL announced John Alexander would run PBL Media, Ian Johnson would take charge of Channel Nine and Rowan Craige would become CEO of Crown Casino.

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