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The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (NYSE: SMG) today announced a series of organizational changes in the areas of finance, supply chain and corporate affairs designed to fully leverage future growth opportunities and drive long-term shareholder value. As part of the realignment, the Company announced Randy Coleman has departed as executive vice president and chief financial officer and that Cory Miller, previously vice president of finance for Hawthorne Gardening Company, has been promoted to senior vice president and named as interim CFO. The Company will commence a formal search process to fill the role on a permanent basis, which will include a review of both internal and external candidates.
“Cory has emerged as one of our brightest leaders through his contributions to the growth and success of Hawthorne over the past several years, and shareholders should be confident in his abilities to assume the duties of the CFO role,” said Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO. “During his more than 20-year tenure, he has excelled in a series of corporate and operating roles, culminating in his current role as finance lead for Hawthorne. Cory has been deeply involved in the business, including the integration of Sunlight Supply and several other acquisitions that have led to the current Hawthorne portfolio.”
In a broader realignment of the finance organization, Kelly Berry, formerly corporate treasurer, has been promoted to lead all of finance for the U.S. Consumer business segment. Lonny Essex, a former corporate banker and long-tenured associate and consultant, has been named to succeed Ms. Berry as treasurer, a role he has held in the past. Mark Scheiwer will transition from his role as controller to lead the Hawthorne finance team. Brad Chelton, the former head of internal audit who currently leads supply chain finance, will transition into the controller’s role. Mr. Chelton joined ScottsMiracle-Gro in 2007 after a 9-year career in public accounting. Mark Sims has been promoted to senior vice president of special operations, which includes strategic planning and internal consulting as well as mergers and acquisitions. He will report directly to Jim Hagedorn.
Separately, Dave Swihart, senior vice president of research and development, has taken on the expanded role of leading global technology and operations and will continue to report to Mike Lukemire, president and chief operating officer. This expanded role includes oversight of the entire global supply chain function. Scott Hendrick will lead all manufacturing and distribution operations, and Mark Slavens, PhD., will assume a broader leadership role in R&D. Both will report to Mr. Swihart.
“Under Dave’s leadership, we have dramatically improved our innovation processes and have benefitted from a series of the most successful product launches in our history,” Lukemire said. “As we continue to advance our supply chain to meet the rapidly evolving needs of the market, including the expansion of our direct-to-consumer efforts, he is the right person to also oversee this effort. Dave’s expanded role provides me more flexibility to work with Jim and our Board of Directors on key strategic initiatives that we believe will drive growth and value for years to come.”
Brian Herrington has been promoted to vice president of external affairs at Hawthorne and will oversee all state and federal government relations activities for that business. He will report to Chris Hagedorn, general manager of Hawthorne, and Jim King, executive vice president for corporate affairs. The Company also will create a lead public affairs role based in Washington, D.C., reporting to Mr. King.
Hagedorn stressed the realignment and Mr. Coleman’s departure were not related to any concerns about past or future business performance or the integrity of the Company’s financial controls. Rather, internal planning for most of the changes announced today have been underway for months as part of ongoing strategic planning, talent management and succession planning discussions.
“Clearly our business has been performing well and that trend has continued into 2021 as we exceeded our expectations for the first quarter,” said Jim Hagedorn. “This realignment is focused on fully exploiting the longer-term opportunities that lie ahead and leveraging the deep well of talent that exists within ScottsMiracle-Gro.
“In our U.S. Consumer business, gardening has never been more relevant to consumers, and demographic trends continue to work in our favor. Further investments in marketing and categories like live goods will be critical in this business. And at Hawthorne, the regulatory environment continues to improve at both the state and federal level. Those tailwinds, coupled with the improvements we’ve made over the past two years and the recent opening of our new R&D facility in Canada, clearly position Hawthorne above any other player in the industry.
“All of us want to thank Randy for his more than 20-year commitment to ScottsMiracle-Gro. He played a key role in the creation of Hawthorne, the development and implementation of Project Focus and other initiatives that significantly improved our market position and drove meaningful shareholder value. He remains a friend to all of us, and we wish him continued success in his future endeavors.”
“My departure from ScottsMiracle-Gro is on friendly terms,” Mr. Coleman said. “I am proud of the body of work I leave behind, confident in the depth and strength of the finance team and am aligned with the strategy that I helped shape and that my former colleagues continue to pursue. Mostly, I am forever grateful for the opportunities and relationships that have helped shape my career and life.”
Dave Evans, the CFO of ScottsMiracle-Gro from 2006 to 2013, and now a member of the Board of Directors, will serve as a senior advisor to the executive leadership and finance team during the transition to a permanent CFO.
“We are fortunate to have access to Dave’s counsel and experience,” Hagedorn said. “We also have exceptional talent, not just in the finance organization, but the entire enterprise. I am optimistic about our ability to capture the opportunities ahead of us.”