Regis Taps Interim COO to Serve as Interim CEO

Regis Taps Interim COO to Serve as Interim CEO

Eric Bakken already serves as chief operating officer, executive vice president, general counsel, and business development officer.

Regis Corporation said Friday that interim Chief Operating Officer (COO) Eric Bakken will serve as its interim CEO while the hair-care company continues to search for a new chief executive.

Bakken serves as Regis’ executive vice president, general counsel, and business development officer in addition to his two C-level titles.

According to a Friday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Bakken won’t receive additional compensation for his new duties.

Bakken’s new appointment comes after a series of recent shifts within the top management ranks at Edina-based Regis.

Paul Finkelstein stepped down as CEO in February and as chairman in May. President Randy Pearce was set to succeed Finkelstein upon his departure but announced in May that he planned to leave the company instead. Last week was his last at Regis.

Bakken, 45, joined Regis in 1994 as a company lawyer and worked his way up the ladder. He’s been an executive vice president since 2010.

He became interim COO in January after Regis ousted then-Executive Vice President and COO David Bortnem. That move came on the heels of a contentious proxy battle that ended last October when Regis investor Starboard Value LP, a New York-based hedge fund, won three board seats.

The proxy battle occurred after Regis outlined a planned $40 million to $50 million expense reduction over the next two fiscal years—but Starboard said the plans were insufficient and fought for control on the board.

Regis has struggled and trimmed expenses in recent years as consumers have reduced the frequency of their salon visits amid the recession. Its net income dropped more than 79 percent in the fiscal year that ended in June 2011, and it reported a net loss totaling $8.9 million. Revenue, meanwhile, fell about 1.4 percent to $2.32 billion during the period—an improvement from a 3 percent drop the previous year.

Financial results for the fourth quarter and the fiscal year that ended last month haven’t yet been released. But Regis reported a $1.4 million loss for the third quarter that ended March 31, marking an improvement over the $57.4 million net loss during the second quarter. Same-store sales declined 3.4 percent in the third quarter.