Glenn S. Lyon is stepping down as chief executive officer of The Finish Line Inc. at the end of February.
Lyon will continue as executive chairman through the end of calendar year 2016, and beginning in 2017 will transition to the role of non-executive chairman. Lyon joined Finish Line in 2001 as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of the Finish Line Brand, before holding those same posts for the company prior to becoming the company’s ceo. Before joining Finish Line, he was president and ceo of the now defunct women’s specialty chain Paul Harris Stores Inc. Lyon began his retail career in 1973 at the Macy’s executive training program.
Sam Sato, president of the company since October 2014, will succeed Lyon as ceo on Feb. 28. Sato started his retail career at Nordstrom in 1985. He joined Finish Line in March 2007 as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. He was named president and chief merchandising officer in August 2010, and later president of the Finish Line Brand in October 2012.
According to Lyon, the board and management have been working together to prepare for the leadership change. “Working with Sam for more than seven years here at Finish Line, I have seen him dramatically impact our premium brand position in the athletic retail world, and importantly, build strong bridges with our brand partners,” Lyon said.
The news of the leadership change Thursday came on the same day the company posted a third-quarter loss for the period ended Nov. 28, 2015.
The loss was $21.8 million, or 49 cents a diluted share, against net income of $2.6 million, or 5 cents, a year ago. Net sales fell 3.5 percent to $382.1 million from $395.8 million. Finish Line comparable-store sales for the quarter fell 5.8 percent, although the company said fourth quarter-to-date comps, including December’s holiday sales, were up 6.2 percent so far.
Shares of Finish Line were down 9.4 percent to $16.76 in late afternoon trading, reflecting both the volatility of the day’s trading session on Wall Street and the company’s lowered guidance for the year. Finish Line now expects comps for the fiscal year ending Feb. 27, 2016, to be up low-single digits and nonGAAP diluted earnings per share between $1.18 and $1.23. That’s compared with the comps projection of low-single to mid single-digit range and diluted EPS of $1.67 when the company posted second-quarter results on Sept. 25.