Advance Auto Parts announced today that Jeffrey Smith, independent chair of the board, will not stand for re-election at the May 2020 annual meeting of shareholders.
Smith became a member of the board in November 2015 and has served as the independent chair since May 2016. Smith’s current term expires on May 15. The board of directors intends to appoint Eugene Lee Jr. as chair. Lee, a current independent director, is the president and CEO of Darden Restaurants.
“I will genuinely miss the team members and board members of Advance,” said Jeff Smith. “We have accomplished a great deal together and I am proud of our progress and excited about the future. While it is difficult to step away from this terrific company and great people, it is my confidence in the leadership and the plan that allows me to step away. I would like to thank Tom and the management team for a terrific partnership and for helping create a plan to produce substantial cash flow and value creation. I would also like to thank Gene Lee and the board for their professional and capable oversight. I am thrilled that Gene will continue as Chair and am excited to support the next chapter under his and Tom’s leadership.”
“I want to thank Jeff for his numerous contributions to the board of directors,” Lee added. “Jeff’s strategic vision and disciplined approach to operational improvements helped us prioritize for the future, and we are making progress against the strategy he helped set in motion. I have no doubt the talented and experienced management team will continue to deliver meaningful results in the years ahead. On a personal level, I am thankful for Jeff’s partnership and guidance over the past five years, as well as the board’s confidence in me to assume the chair role in May.”
Advance President and CEO Tom Greco called Smith “one of the chief architects of our business transformation.”
“Jeff’s relentless focus on team members, customers and shareholders has enabled us to build the foundation we need for long-term growth and margin expansion,” Greco added. “We’ve delivered two consecutive years of top- and bottom-line improvement, and we are well-positioned to drive meaningful sales growth, margin expansion and significant cash generation in the future. Gene is intimately familiar with our strategy and has a strong track record of driving results, which makes him uniquely qualified to lead the board at this time. I look forward to working with Gene in his new capacity as chair. I am incredibly grateful for Jeff’s numerous contributions to the transformation of Advance and wish him continued success in the future.”
Unrelated to Smith’s departure, Adriana Karaboutis, who has served as a member of the board since February 2015, has elected to not stand for re-election at the May 2020 annual meeting of shareholders following the expiration of her current term. The nominating and governance committee has commenced a search for additional director candidates.
“Andi has been a valuable member of our board over the past five years, contributing meaningful expertise to the technology roadmap which is critical to the successful execution of our strategic objectives,” Greco said. “I want to thank Andi for her support and wish her well in her future endeavors.”