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Fastenal Rehires Old CEO As Current One Steps Down

The change came as a surprise to regulators, prompting no response from Fastenal behind the reason for the shakeup.

Fastenal Rehires Old CEO As Current One Steps Down
After a short-lived, seven-month stint as president and CEO of Fastenal Co., Leland Hein stepped down and will fill his previous role as chief operating officer.
 
Willard Oberton, Fastenal’s CEO from 2002 to December 2014, will be returning to the CEO post. The C-suite shakeup at Fastenal will take effect immediately.
 
When the Winona-based supplier of fasteners, industrial and construction products announced Hein’s departure on Monday, it didn’t disclose the reason for his exit beyond saying he will “step down.” Instead, Hein will now resume his prior position’s responsibilities “where he is a proven leader.”
 
Zacks Equity Research noted that Fastenal had managed to boost sales in 2014 through strategically increasing personnel at its stores. However, Fastenal was struggled this year due to lower sales in the oil and gas industry, specifically in oil-producing regions (Texas, western Pennsylvania, western Canada, etc.) where a slowing economy has hurt sales. Remarkably, Fastenal still managed to post 5 percent daily sales growth rates in their second quarter with Hein at the helm. Even monthly sales figures posted by Fastenal jumped as much as 12 percent when compared to the same time periods.
 
Officials at Fastenal did not return a request for comment on the sudden leadership change, yet Logan Purk, an Edward Jones equity research analyst told the Star Tribune that “the change is definitely strange,” adding that Fastenal is “clearly transitioning.”
 
CEO Oberton, 57, will earn an annual base salary for 2015 of $570,000, which has been pro-rated for his partial year of service, along with a bonus for each quarter (calculated as 0.8 percent of the amount exceeding Fastenal’s pre-tax earnings in 2014). Being a chairman of the company board, Oberton will lose the monthly retainer he was once afforded. Hein, 54, will earn pro-rated pay for his partial year of service as well, totaling to $430,000 and a bonus for each quarter.
 
Fastenal’s stock has fallen since the SEC filing on Monday, ultimately closing at $42.19. Since January, company stock has dropped more than 14 percent, or nearly $7 less per share.
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