Richmond, Va. — Circuit City’s chairman, president and CEO Phil Schoonover has agreed to step down from those positions, effective immediately and he resigned as company director.
James A. Marcum, recently appointed vice chairman, will serve as acting president and CEO.
The board of directors also elected Allen B. King, former chairman of Universal Corporation, as its chairman.
Schoonover joined Circuit City in 2004. He served as its president and director since 2005 and as chairman of the board and chief executive officer since 2006.
King, a member of Circuit’s board since 2003 and its independent lead director since June 2008, commented on Schoonover’s departure in a release: “A change in leadership at the chief executive officer level is always a difficult decision, and Circuit City appreciates Phil’s efforts over the past four years. It is important to note that Phil has made many significant contributions during his tenure, including expanding our multi-channel capabilities, enhancing our services offering and developing the Firedog brand. We thank him for his leadership and we wish him well with his future endeavors.”
Mark Wattles, owner of Wattles Capital Management, one of the largest independent stockholders of Circuit City stores, has been waging a public battle since the spring to encourage Circuit’s board of directors to
, claiming the executive exercised “poor decision-making and poor execution” during the two-year period in which the company attempted to make a “turnaround” effort to recover from the losses it experienced during the period of “temporary industry-wide oversupply of flat-panel TVs [in late 2005 and early 2006.]”
Along with Wattles’ request to remove Schoonover, he also moved to unseat all 12 of Circuit City’s sitting directors and replace them with five board candidates he nominated, including Marcum.
Marcum, one-time chief financial officer of Hollywood Entertainment, Wattles’ former video chain, was appointed vice chairman of Circuit City last month. At the time, Circuit announced that Marcum would “play a key role in leading the efforts to accelerate the pace of the company’s turnaround,” a role that he also played for Wattles when he took control of Ultimate Electronics in 2005.
Of his new role at Circuit’s helm, Marcum said, “Circuit City has a long history of being a leader in the consumer electronics industry. We believe that by fine-tuning our focus and strategies we will be able to leverage this history and build a stronger future for the company. Since joining the team, I have been impressed by the passion and energy of our associates and their desire to direct that energy towards improving our operations and strengthening our market position in order to accelerate our turnaround and deliver improved results for all of our key stakeholders.”