Easy Come, Easy Go at Abercrombie

Well, that was fast. Abercrombie & Fitch's (NYSE: ANF  ) senior vice president of finance, Michael Nuzzo, resigned from his position just a month after taking over the company's financial reins, following CFO Michael Kramer's departure last month. Perhaps somebody rated Nuzzo a "zero" on his face? (Kidding. I hope.)

Abercrombie filed a Form 8-K with the SEC last night revealing Nuzzo's departure. The 8-K said that Nuzzo has taken a chief financial officer position with an international retailer, and that Abercrombie's controller, Brian Logan, will assume his responsibilities now.

A press release from General Nutrition Centers, also known as GNC, reveals that it's the "international retailer" (based in Pittsburgh, incidentally) that hired Nuzzo on as CFO, citing Nuzzo's nine long years spent at Abercrombie. (Maybe it's not so "easy go" for him after all.)

Digging through SEC filings reveals an interesting backdrop. We can see that Abercrombie didn't make Nuzzo CFO when Kramer jumped ship. Plus, Nuzzo's base salary in his new position was set at $400,000; Kramer's base salary last year was $723,000 (and he started in 2006 with a base salary of about $586,500). Maybe somebody was feeling just a wee bit unappreciated compared to Kramer, aka Mr.-I-Used-To-Work-For-Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) . Nuzzo didn't get some crazy going-away present like Kramer did after his resignation, either.

Abercrombie is hardly the exception to the rule when it comes to recent bouts of executive musical chairs. The fact that Hot Topic (Nasdaq: HOTT  ) recently lost a high-profile and newly hired executive after only a month absolutely astonished me, so the Abercrombie news doesn't seem quite as surprising, despite this guy's noteworthy defection speed. Charlotte Russe (Nasdaq: CHIC  ) has suffered executive turmoil, and American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO  ) is familiar with such loss, too.  

We'll never know what really went down regarding Nuzzo's about-face at Abercrombie. Maybe he really loves nutritional supplements, and that $400K salary just wasn't going to cover his vitamin bills. Maybe he's all like, "Look, dudes, my face is a 5, not a 0." (Maybe I shouldn't let my imagination get carried away.)

Whatever Nuzzo's reasons for leaving, executive defections can be major distractions at companies. The sense of impermanence surrounding Abercrombie's financial top spot makes me wonder about the company's health as a whole. I think investors have good reason to feel uneasy about that, too.

American Eagle Outfitters and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. The Fool owns shares of American Eagle Outfitters. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Alyce Lomax owns no shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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