In the manuals of CEO departures Jayne Hrdlicka's sudden exit from market darling a2 Milk is not a good look.
After just 18 months in the job, during which she progressively sold down millions of dollars' worth of shares, Hrdlicka is gone, out the door having "agreed to step down".
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It's those four words that ring the loudest and give cause for investors to speculate there might be more to this than the stress of the job and a desire for more family time instead of travelling with the company's growth prospects.
As the New Zealand Shareholders Association rightly points out, Hrdlicka should have known they'd be lots of travelling when she took on the job.
More likely she either had a major falling out with the board or they simply grew too far apart to reconcile their differences and the pressure of institutional shareholders who did not agree with the way the company was being run was brought to bear.
With their noses already out of joint from Hrdlicka's share sales, some of those shareholders were displeased after the full year result in August which undershot analyst estimates and talked about boosting marketing spend at the expense of 2020 revenues.
The stock was hammered on the day, falling 14 per cent and while it had since recovered, the angst remained among investors as the company faced more competitive pressure in China.
Some investors remained concerned about Hrdlicka's leadership style and a management restructure she engineered earlier this year that resulted in new faces that had worked with her previously.
Chairman David Hearn was at pains to point out that Hrdlicka's departure was not performance-related and there was nothing lurking in the books for investors to be worried about.
The company statement was also supportive of the strategy that she and the senior leadership team had developed.
"The board will work closely with [former CEO] Geoff Babidge to prosecute the current strategy whilst searching for the right fulltime candidate to take the company forward," Hearn said.
But the company's unwillingness to elaborate further on the departure is disappointing, particularly if there are termination payments to be disclosed in future.
Babidge's return to CEO will appeal to those who were displeased with Hrdlicka.
He held the role from 2010 to mid-2018 and was instrumental in identifying and developing the personal shopper "Daigou" channel in China, which a2's success was built on.
However, Babidge is not the long-term solution for where a2 is headed and the company will need to move quickly to find a replacement for Hrdlicka.
One thing is sure, a2's future is once again delicately poised.