As Newell Brands’ transformation nears completion, CEO Polk announces retirement

Newell Brands Inc. CEO and President Michael Polk is retiring at the end of the second quarter, the Hoboken-based consumer goods company announced.

The company, with a portfolio including the Sharpie, Rubbermaid, Mr. Coffee and Baby Jogger brands, among others, said in a news release Thursday night that the board and CEO agreed on the timing of the management transition, given the company is nearing completion of Accelerated Transformation Plan. The plan has seen Newell adjust its holdings toward a more narrow business focus, including selling some prominent units.

Newell Brands
Michael Polk, CEO and president of Newell Brands.

“I have been privileged to lead Newell Brands for the past eight years,” Polk said in a prepared statement. “With the Accelerated Transformation Plan largely complete and the business beginning to turn, I believe now is the right time to transition to the next generation of leadership.

“I am proud of the progress we have made since 2011, transforming the portfolio and building a set of competitively advantaged capabilities in innovation, design and e-commerce. I am committed to working alongside the board and the management team to ensure a smooth transition over the next few months.”

Polk has been a director of the company since 2009 and CEO and president since 2011. Newell has commenced a search process — retaining search firm Heidrick & Struggles to assist.

“On behalf of the board, I want to thank Mike for his leadership and contributions to Newell Brands,” Patrick Campbell, nonexecutive independent chairman of the board, said in a statement. “Mike has played a significant role in developing and executing a strategy to position Newell Brands as a diversified, global, branded consumer products company with a portfolio of leading brands in large and growing global categories.

“While we recognize that there is still work to do to become a leading consumer goods company, we are confident that the company is taking the right steps to execute its transformation, drive growth and increase shareholder value.”