MDC Partners said chairman/CEO Scott Kauffman is stepping down as the holding company seeks to regroup after several struggling years with the network's stock plunging to new lows, creative talent fleeing, as the holding company seeks to divest of some assets.
The company made the announcement after the close of markets Wednesday afternoon. MDC’s stock was up nearly 6% in after-hours trading after the news broke.
"We appreciate Scott's efforts to lead MDC during a challenging transition time for the Company and the industry," said Larry Kramer, Chairman of MDC's HR & Compensation Committee in a statement. "He has advanced the Company's offerings in data and technology, demonstrated a commitment to diversity and inclusion, and put in place a foundation that we believe sets our agencies up for success going forward."
Kauffman will remain in place until MDC finds his successor. The search, led by the Board, has retained a national search firm and will focus on an executive who can further advance the company's ongoing commitment to "creating value for shareholders, differentiating its agencies in a competitive industry, and enhancing its offerings to clients," according to the company's statement.
Kauffman will continue to serve as a member of the MDC Board of Directors following the appointment of a new CEO.
"The person we identify to lead MDC going forward will share that deep commitment, with a focus on delivering the most innovative and creative business solutions to our growing client roster," said Kramer in the release.
Kauffman has over 30 years of leadership experience. He succeeded Miles Nadal as MDC’s CEO three years ago after Nadal was ousted after misusing company funds to pay for items like cosmetic surgery and private planes.
Prior to MDC, Kauffman was the co-founder, president & CEO of New Engineering University, an education services company. Before entering academia, he was the President & CEO of Geeknet, the parent company of SourceForge, Slashdot and ThinkGeek. He joined shortly after Yahoo acquired BlueLithium, where he served as President & COO.
Kauffman also spent time leading several early-stage Internet ventures and was part of the team that founded Entertainment Weekly. On the personal side, the digitally-savvy executive has been an outspoken critic of Trump both during his conference appearances as well as via social media, frequently using the #Undo45 hashtag.