Blucora CEO Clendening Exits, Furthering Management Turmoil
Blucora Inc. said Thursday that John Clendening, its president and chief executive, has left the tax software company and broker-dealer holding company, following a disagreement about the scope of his authority.
Ten days ago, Blucora’s chief financial officer, Davinder Athwal, announced that he was resigning from the company at the end of January. “Once the new CEO is in place, we expect the company to be well positioned to complete the selection of a new Chief Financial Officer,” board chairman Georganne Proctor said in a press release.
Clendening, a former cohead of Charles Schwab’s retail brokerage unit, joined Blucora in April 2016 and had negotiated two acquisitions since his arrival. Blucora last week said it will buy Dubuque, Iowa, registered investment advisor HK Financial Services for $160 million. In May, it purchased 1st Global, a broker-dealer based in Dallas, for $180 million.
“I’m proud of all that our team has accomplished and the significant value it has delivered for customers, advisors and shareholders during the past four years,” Clendening said in a prepared statement.
Blucora, which has about 4,120 independent brokers, said that his “departure resulted from differences in views on the scope of Mr.Clendening’s authority.”
The firm’s financial position and cash flows are strong, the Irving, Texas-based company said, and it expects to name a new CEO by the end of January.
H.D. Vest and 1st Global were merged in September into a single brand called Avantax Wealth Management, wth Avantax Investment Services as its broker-dealer and Avantax Advisory Services as its RIA.
Blucora, which manufactures and licenses TaxAct planning software, works with brokers who oversee about $67.7 billion in client assets, it said in its third-quarter earnings release.
Clendening’s responsibilities will be assumed by an “interim office of the CEO” comprised executives Enrique Vasquez, Curtis Campbell, Todd Mackay and Ann Bruder, the company said.
Vasquez and Campbell, who head the firm’s wealth management and TaxAct divisions, respectively, will continue to oversee those businesses.
Mackay, chief business operations and development officer, will oversee the closing of the HK acquisition. Bruder, chief legal officer and secretary, will be in charge of certain administrative and staff functions.
Clendening’s departure was unrelated to Blucora’s “business performance, strategic vision, goals, financial reporting or internal controls,” the company said in the press release.
Blucora’s shares rose almost 400%, closing on Wednesday at $24.50 from under $5 when Clendening arrived, he said in his statement.
Shares of Blucora on Thursday closed down 6.4%, or $1.57, at $22.94 a share.