The CTO of Weber Inc. is taking over as interim CEO after the departure of Chris Scherzinger, CEO of the Illinois-based outdoor cooking products manufacturer since April 2018, the company announced Monday.
Interim CEO Alan Matula joined the Weber leadership team as CIO in 2015, after more than 35 years with Shell, formerly Royal Dutch Shell. He became CTO at Weber in March of this year.
Under Scherzinger’s leadership, the company went public in August 2021, riding a wave of pandemic-fueled consumer spending on its products. But its sales — and stock prices — hit a slump, with Scherzinger reporting a Q2 net sales decrease of 7% year-over-year in a May earnings call.
Profits are down this year and Q3 earnings projections indicate more contraction. Preliminary estimates are for net sales in the three months ending on June 30 to come in between $525 million and $530 million, down from $607 million the previous quarter.
Weber Inc. stock closed at $6.5 per share Monday, down from its IPO price of $14 a share.
Inflation, supply chain disruptions and economic malaise have taken their toll on Weber — and on the company’s departed CEO.
The company boasted record profits for fiscal year 2021, with net sales of $1.98 billion, an increase of 30% over the previous year.
The announcement of Scherzinger’s departure pointed to rising inflation, supply chain constraints, fuel prices and geopolitical uncertainty as causes for the downturn.
“We are taking decisive action to better position Weber to navigate historic macroeconomic challenges, including inflationary and supply chain pressures that are impacting consumer confidence, spending patterns and margins,” said Kelly Rainko, non-executive chair of Weber’s board of directors, in the press release.
The decision to name Matula the interim top position is indicative of changes in Weber’s business model and reflects a broader move to elevate the technology function throughout the economy.
“Every business is a tech company these days,” Art Zeile, CEO of the software products and tech talent recruitment company DHI Group said in an interview with CIO Dive.
That includes a company best known for the distinctive shape of its Kettle, a grill first marketed by George Stephen in 1952.
Now one of the leading manufacturers of charcoal, gas and electric grills and grilling accessories, Weber acquired June Life in January 2021, less than a year after teaming with the home appliance automation company to launch its Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub device and app. The Genesis smart gas grill joined the company’s growing digital product line earlier this year.
Scherzinger emphasized the growth potential of smart technology and the Weber Connect platform in a Q2 earnings call. Matula is now temporarily positioned to leverage that potential.
Weber did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Scherzinger’s departure and the appointment of Matula as interim CEO.