Russell Reynolds Associates Tapped by HanesBrands for CEO Search

March 18, 2020 – HanesBrands has started a comprehensive search process to identify the company’s next CEO with the assistance of Russell Reynolds Associates. Gerald W. Evans Jr. has notified the company’s board of directors of his decision to retire at the end of the current fiscal year, which ends Jan. 2, 2021.

“After more than three and a half decades at Hanes, I am confident that now is the right time for the company to transition to its next generation of leadership,” Mr. Evans said. “Thanks to our team of hard-working employees around the world, we have created a strong foundation for sustainable success that is rooted in our customer-centric approach, agile business model and commitment to continuous improvement. I am confident that Hanes is well positioned to achieve its full potential and am pleased to work alongside the rest of the board and management team to provide a smooth handoff to our next CEO,” he said.

Stifel analyst Jim Duffy told the Winston-Salem Journal that “for the successor, we expect an external candidate with leadership qualities and expertise in alignment with the needs of Hanesbrands’ business model — consumer oriented, marketing across multiple brands, global supply chain, and product focused.”

The HanesBrands’ board will consider both internal and external candidates.

“We thank Gerald and appreciate his willingness to continue with the company through year end to ensure a seamless transition of leadership,” said Ronald L. Nelson, chairman of the Hanes board of directors.

HanesBrands, based in Winston-Salem, NC, is a marketer of everyday basic innerwear and activewear apparel in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia-Pacific. The company sells its products under some of the world’s strongest apparel brands, including Hanes, Champion, Bonds, DIM, Maidenform, Bali, Playtex, Lovable, Bras N Things, Nur Die/Nur Der, Alternative, L’eggs, JMS/Just My Size, Wonderbra, Berlei and Gear for Sports. A member of the S&P 500 stock index, Hanes has approximately 63,000 employees in more than 40 countries and is ranked No. 432 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies by sales.

Russell Reynolds’ CEO practice works with board leadership and nominating committees of public and private companies, as well as non-profit organizations, to recruit, develop and advise board members, board chairs and CEOs. The firm has placed CEOs at variety of organization including: Neiman Marcus Group, the DoSeum, Parkinson’s Foundation, USA Volleyball, CDC Group and Save the Children UK, among others.

Why Consider Outsiders

PwC report found that over the past several years more big companies have been choosing their new CEOs from outside as part of a planned succession, an indication that hiring an outsider has become more of an intentional leadership choice than a necessity. Outsiders accounted for 22 percent of all CEOs brought in via a planned succession between 2012 and 2019, up from 14 percent in the 2005 to 2007 period, said the report.

Related: As CEO Turnover Rises, Outsiders Are Given a Closer Look

“Boards of directors following well thought-through succession plans should have a deep bench of strong, internal candidates,” said Gary Neilson, thought leader on organizational design and leadership with Strategy&, and a principal with PwC U.S. “However, when the company needs to make transformational changes away from their former strategic and operating plans, boards should factor the ‘outsider option’ into their succession planning.”


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Outsiders don’t have biases and commitments built up over the years, he said, and they can therefore make changes more objectively. “They also may be able to look at the organization from a broader perspective based on an understanding of what the world will require in the future,” said Mr. Neilson.

Whether a new leader comes from inside or outside the organization, companies that plan for CEO succession carefully are more likely to be better performing companies in general, he said.

Clarke Murphy, CEO of Russell Reynolds Associates, agreed: “Since the financial crisis, boards are more committed than ever to long-term succession planning and rigorous processes to find and select the best executive to succeed incumbent CEOs,” he said. Their efforts “reflect a deliberate process” that is now resulting in superior leaders being put into position, he added.

Related: Walking the Tightrope of Executive Succession

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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