Atlanta homebuilder, PulteGroup Inc. said Monday that its CEO will retire next year in an accelerated turnover plan being pushed by the company’s founder.
Richard Dugas Jr., 50, plans to retire at the company’s annual shareholder’s meeting in May 2017.
Pulte, the founder, confirmed to the company’s board of directors that Dugas’ decision to move the company to Atlanta was one of his concerns. But he also expressed his “extreme disappointment” in Dugas’ running of the company and “the lack of performance of PulteGroup under his watch.”
“After many years of losses at PulteGroup, Richard Dugas moved the company’s headquarters from suburban Detroit to Atlanta, which cost the shareholders tens of millions of dollars with no apparent benefit to shareholders,” said Pulte. He said the company “had become the largest homebuilder in the United States while headquartered in Michigan.”
The homebuilder announced its plans to move its headquarters to Atlanta from Michigan in May 2013 and completed the move the following year. At the time, the company said it was attracted to Atlanta by the promise of a renewed homebuilding market in metro Atlanta and the Southeast.
The company moved or hired about 350 executives and top-level support staff to the Capital City Plaza tower in Buckhead, overlooking Ga. 400 and the Buckhead MARTA station.
“Mr. Dugas’ decision to retire is due in part to the actions of Bill Pulte, who founded the Company in 1950, Mr. Pulte’s grandson, and Jim Grosfeld, who was appointed to the Board in December at the behest of Mr. Pulte,” the company said in a press release.
“These individuals recently demanded an immediate CEO change and a different direction for the Company,” the firm added. “In an effort to avoid a contested public battle that would not be in the interests of shareholders, Mr. Dugas offered to accelerate and make public the Board’s succession plan, prompting today’s announcement.”
Dugas was just 38 when he took over as Pulte’s CEO in 2003. Before becoming CEO of the company, Dugas previously served as the Atlanta market leader Pulte. He has worked at Pulte since 1994, and was named its chairman in 2009.
Pulte’s board of directors said it has created a committee of its independent directors to conduct a search for Dugas’ successor.