Francesca’s Holdings Corp. axed Gene Morphis, its chief financial officer, for sharing company information over a social media network.
The 236-door Houston-based chain said the firing was based on an investigation by the board of directors with the assistance of outside counsel.
“Francesca’s has delivered consistent, high-quality results for customers and public investors,” said Greg Brenneman, chairman of the 236-door chain. “We are disappointed by this situation but we expect our executives to comply with all company policies. We acted immediately on Friday afternoon when we first became aware of the matter and have moved swiftly to replace Mr. Morphis based on the findings of the investigation.”
Cynthia Thomassee, Francesca’s controller, will act as interim cfo as the firm looks for a replacement.
Otherwise, things are looking up for the chain, which boosted first-quarter earnings guidance to 17 cents to 18 cents a share from the 14 cents to 15 cents previously projected.
“It is important to separate the two pieces of news announced today and analyze them objectively,” said Randal Konik, an equity analyst at Jefferies. “Granted the termination of Mr. Morphis’s employment is unfortunate; however [Francesca’s] has a strong bench of senior leaders, is a very well executed company, and we believe it will get through this short term disruption with minimal impact to the underlying business. As seen by the raised guidance, the underlying business remains very strong.”