Behind closed doors at SM&A…

July 24, 2007

images6.jpegJust a few months ago, proposal management firm SM&A (WINS) was highly touting its new CEO, Cynthia Davis-Sailar, a veteran defense contracting executive who was replacing long-time CEO and Chairman Steve Myers:

“We are all very confident that in Cynthia Davis-Sailar we have found a leader who has the vision, experience and skills to take SM&A to new levels of revenue growth and shareholder returns over the next decade.

The release went on to note that COO Cathy McCarthy, who presumably had wanted the top job, would be leaving the company “to pursue a new business venture” by the end of the year.

But then, last week, SM&A put out this release, which announced Sailar-Davis’ immediate departure and the appointment of McCarthy to CEO effective immediately. The release provided no details on Sailar-Davis’ reasons for stepping down immediately and was included in the 8-K the company filed late yesterday, which also included agreements for both women.

Turns out that being CEO for 3 1/2 months can be pretty profitable. According to the agreement, Davis (the Sailar part was dropped in the current version) will collect $455K in severance plus a few other minor items.

But you have to wonder went on behind closed doors at the company because it sounds like a bit of a cat fight. After all, it’s not all that often that the person who gets the top job is replaced by the runner-up less than four months later.

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