Compass Minerals’ Fran Malecha Steps Down as CEO

Compass Minerals, one of the largest public companies headquartered in the Kansas City region, announced today CEO Fran Malecha was leaving the company after five years at the helm, effective immediately. The company’s board appointed lead independent director Dick Grant as chairman of the board and interim CEO until Malecha’s successor could be named.

The company did not elaborate on reasons for the sudden move.

“Over the last several years, we have made progress toward building a balanced company for the future,” Grant said in a news release announcing the transition. “The board remains committed to achieving best-in-class operational efficiency in our salt business to maximize its cash generating capabilities and investing in our higher-growth, global plant-nutrition business. We are now moving forward with a keen focus on execution in order to ensure we can drive value from these investments and deliver sustainable, long-term value creation for our shareholders.”

The release said Compass’ board had appointed a search committee comprising independent directors and would retain an executive search firm to assist with the leadership search, which will include both internal and external candidates.

Based in Overland Park, Compass Minerals ranked as the area’s 14th-largest private company this year, with 2017 revenues of more than $1.3 billion. The company produces essential minerals such as road-surface salt, and specialty plant-nutrition minerals. It employs more than 3,000 people worldwide, including about 650 in this region.