Shares of Landry's Restaurants (NYSE:LNY) fell nearly 7% in Monday trading as news spread about the departure of company CFO Paul West. According to an SEC filing made yesterday, West "resigned to pursue other interests."

Investors have to be scratching their heads over the handling of this one. The company, which operates Joe's Crab Shack, Rainforest Cafe, and several other eatery chains, actually dated its filing for Friday. Yet as of Monday evening there had been no press release despite this qualifying, one would think, as important news. And it's not as though Landry's is particularly tight-lipped: It's a regular on the investment conference circuit.

West, meanwhile, was hardly a fly-by-night character: He joined Landry's in 1993. The company may have been surprised by the news -- some analysts quoted in the press certainly were, and West's replacement has an interim title. But it doesn't make much sense that Landry's, which has a stable and experienced team of top executives, would drop the ball on communicating this with its investors.

People leave jobs for all sorts of reasons all the time. The point of this article isn't to criticize West's decision and his reasons, whatever they might be. But companies need to plan for such eventualities. It seems, at first blush, that Landry's wasn't ready for this one. It stands in stark contrast to last month's news from home improvement retailer Lowe's (NYSE:LOW), which announced the succession plan for its chairman and CEO nearly a year in advance of Robert Tillman's departure.

Landry's shares have been hot for most of the last 12 months, and yesterday's slipup may be little more than a speed bump. Still, it's difficult not to sympathize with the investors who sold off in yesterday's trading.

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Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this article.