Michaels Stores announced today that they are forming an interim Office of the Chief Executive to manage the company in the ongoing absence of CEO John Menzer.
The company had previously announced on April 20th that the 60 year old Menzer was hospitalized in stable condition, but they declined at that time to indicate the cause of his illness. Today’s announcement, the first update on his health situation from the company since that day, indicates that Menzer suffered a stroke last month and is in stable condition but is expected to be absent from the company for an extended period of time. The announcement says that the Board of Directors will reevaluate Menzer’s status periodically. Menzer has been CEO of Michaels Stores, Inc. since 2009.
Menzer has been in the news recently for the role he held previous to his tenure at Michaels, as Vice-Chairman of Wal-Mart. That company is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for the alleged payment of bribes by its Mexican subsidiary during a period of rapid growth in that country. The New York Times named Menzer as one of the key players in the U.S. company’s cover-up of those alleged actions.
The new Office of the CEO at Michaels Stores, Inc. will consist of Lew Klessel, who is Managing Director with Bain Capital Partners, LLC, and Charles “Chuck” Sonsteby, who is Michaels Stores’ Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Klessel has also been appointed to the newly-created position of Interim Chief Operating Officer at Michaels. Klessel and Sonsteby, as the Office of the CEO, will temporarily assume Menzer’s responsibilities as CEO, and will report directly to the Board of Directors.
Klessel is the executive at Bain Capital who manages their investment in Michaels Stores, and he also serves as the Bain representative on the Michaels Board of Directors – which means in his new role in the Office of the CEO that he reports, at least partially, to himself.
It is a sensitive time for the company’s CEO to be absent, as the company recently announced plans at the end of March to launch a $500 million IPO offering of company stock. The company’s private equity ownership stressed in the announcement their confidence in the interim leadership:
“First and foremost, the thoughts of the entire Michaels family continue to be with John and his family during this difficult time and we are all hopeful for his full recovery,” said Matt Levin, Managing Director with Bain Capital Partners, LLC. “By establishing the Office of the CEO on an interim basis, we will ensure ongoing leadership continuity for the business.”
Peter Wallace, Senior Managing Director with The Blackstone Group L.P. added: “The senior management team has been instrumental in developing new strategies and initiatives to drive the company’s growth performance and we are completely confident in their ability to continue to drive business results. Lew is a seasoned executive with extensive management and operations experience who, together with Chuck in his expanded role, will ensure the execution of the company’s strategic plan.”
A holding company controlled by The Blackstone Group and Bain Capital currently owns approximately 93% of Michaels Stores stock.
Want to stay up-to-date on all the latest scrapbook news?