Lexmark CEO retires after posting Q3 earnings, shares plummet

Lexmark’s CEO, Paul J. Curlander, has announced that he will retire, after the company posted lower-than-expected third quarter earnings, sparking dismal performance on the stock market, where shares fell nearly 20 percent.

Lexmark, which specialises in printing and imaging products for consumers and businesses, posted its third quarter results today, which appeared positive at face value. 

Revenue was up from $958 million last year to $1.02 billion. Net earnings for the third quarter were $72 million, up a massive 622 percent compared to the same period last year. Net cash from operations in the third quarter were $130 million, with a year-to-date figure of $367 million, all of which is good news for the company.

However, that was still lower than market experts expected. Analysts for Thomson Reuters forecasted revenue of $1.04 billion, $20 million more than Lexmark reported, and a share value of between $0.98 and $1.09, compared to the $0.90 supplied by its third quarter figures.

The slightly lower revenue is not a huge drop, and the sheer increase in net earnings for the third quarter shows that Lexmark is doing well in general, but the lower-than-expect figures, coupled with the retirement of Curlander, was enough to send the company’s shares spiralling downwards to $38.54 per share at the time of writing, a massive drop of $9.18 or 19.24 percent, which simply cannot help its fourth quarter earnings.

Curlander, 57, is to retire in the Spring of 2011 after 12 years as CEO of the company. Paul Rooke, the current Executive Vice President, set to take his place, as both CEO and Director. Curlander will continue on as chairman of the Board of Directors and will help facilitate the transition of power to Rooke until early next year.