Regis Ousts COO Following Board Shake-Up

A couple of months after a contentious proxy fight resulted in an activist investor winning three spots on Regis' board, the company has terminated the employment of its chief operations officer for undisclosed reasons.

Regis Corporation said in a Thursday regulatory filing that the employment of David Bortnem, executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO), has been “terminated effective immediately.”

The Edina-based hair-care company didn't provide a reason for Bortnem's termination in its filing. Regis' board has appointed Eric Bakken to the role of interim COO. Bakken has served as executive vice president of the company since 2010, having previously served as senior vice president and general counsel.

Bortnem's exit is the latest in a series of recently announced leadership changes at the company, which has struggled and trimmed expenses in recent years.

Randy Pearce is set to take over as CEO in February, succeeding Paul Finkelstein. Regis announced the succession plan in October-several weeks after Regis investor Starboard Value LP, a New York-based hedge fund, asked the company to dramatically cut operating expenses.

Starboard then said that Regis' cost-cutting plans were insufficient and asked shareholdersto support the election of its three nominees to the board. Regis, meanwhile, urged voters to back its nominees, saying Starboard was advocating for irresponsible measures that put the franchise at risk.

After a contentious proxy battle, Starboard won three board seats at Regis.

Regis reported a net loss of $8.9 million in the fiscal year that ended last June; revenue, meanwhile, fell about 1.4 percent to $2.32 billion during that period. The company last week said that its second-quarter revenues fell 2 percent to $563 million. Same-store sales, meanwhile, decreased 3 percent.