Rent-A-Center appoints new CEO amid discussions on shareholder value

Rent-A-Center Inc. Tuesday, Jan. 2, announced that Mitchell E. Fadel has been appointed as CEO, effective immediately. His appointment follows Mark E. Speese’s decision to resign as CEO.

“It has been a privilege to help lead Rent-A-Center over so many years, and I am proud to have helped build such a talented and hard-working team,” Speese said in the release, adding that he believes it is the appropriate time for him to move on from Rent-A-Center.

Fadel previously served as the company’s former president and Chief Operating Officer and is a current member of its Board of Directors. Rent-A-Center said in a news release that Fadel will continue his role as a member of the Board.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to rejoin the talented Rent-A-Center leadership team and excited about the significant opportunity ahead for the company,” Fadel said in the release.

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J.V. Lentell, chairman of the Rent-A-Center Board of Directors, said that as the company’s founder, Speese helped lead Rent-A-Center to its “position as industry leader,” and that the board of directors thanks him for his dedication and service.

“As we continue the strategic review process and move with urgency to improve performance, we are fortunate to have a leader of [Fadel’s] caliber assume the role of CEO,” Lentell said in the release. “He has previously spent more than 30 years in various positions at Rent-A-Center, most recently as president and COO, and we are grateful for his willingness to take on this important new role.”

Based in Plano, the rent-to-own furniture retailer has been under pressure to put itself up for sale from activist hedge funds. In November, private equity fund Vintage Capital offered to buy the company for about $693 million.

The retailer announced Oct. 30, 2017, that the Rent-A-Center Board of Directors had initiated a process to explore strategic and financial alternatives and, with its independent financial and legal advisors, is looking at options to maximize stockholder value.

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At the end of Tuesday’s trading, Rent-A-Center Inc. was down 62 cents to $10.48.