Interim appointment of seasoned executive supports the growth-phase strategic plan launched earlier this year
Harte Hanks Inc. (NASDAQ:HHS) Harte Hanks, a leading global customer experience company focused on bringing companies closer to customers for 100 years, today announced the appointment of David Garrison, an experienced finance executive with more than 20 years of public company CFO experience, as Interim Chief Financial Officer, effective October 23, 2023. Lauri Kearnes is stepping down as CFO but will continue to advise the Company as needed through year end to support a smooth transition. Kearnes’ departure is not related to any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies, or practices.
Garrison brings 20 years of public company CFO experience, with particular expertise in cost containment, streamlining operations, and ERP implementations. He joins Harte Hanks from Digital Lumens Incorporated, an IoT lighting fixture and factory automation technology company that was spun out of Osram Sylvania, where he served as CFO for the last two years. As part of this role, he was instrumental in selling a product line to a strategic buyer and selling the remaining operating entity to a foreign company. Previously, he spent three years as Chief Financial Officer for Sensera, Inc., an Australian listed medical and IoT technology company, where he played an important role in turning around operations to facilitate a sale. Previously, he served as Managing Director of IW Ventures LLC, a financial consultant, and TTcogen LLC, a joint venture between Tecogen Inc. and TEDOM a.s. From 2014 to 2017, Garrison served as CFO of Tecogen Inc., a NASDAQ-listed company that designs, manufactures, and sells industrial and commercial cogeneration systems, where he supported growth with cost controls to drive margin expansion and profitability. He has an MBA from Boston University and has led several Greater Boston-based companies through successful growth-driven integrations, transactions, and implementations.
“Lauri has been a valued, long-standing member of our team and we appreciate all of her contributions as Harte Hanks has evolved over the years,” said Kirk Davis, Chief Executive Officer. “She played an instrumental role in providing the company with stability through restructuring and implementing a foundation for profitable growth. David is a proven financial and operational leader who will help advance the next phase of our comprehensive business plan. He brings a deep background in all facets of SEC reporting, compliance, and governance. Importantly, he brings specific and relevant expertise in information technologies and integration, data analytics, customer satisfaction, and expense management.”
Harte Hanks has already initiated a formal search process to select a permanent Chief Financial Officer to advance the company’s current growth plans and new market goals. Garrison’s interim appointment supports the strategic direction and growth-phase plan launched earlier this year after Harte Hanks celebrated its 100-year anniversary. The plan, which kicked off with the appointment of industry-veteran Kirk Davis as new CEO, is strategically designed to help Harte Hanks continue to adapt, change, and modernize, as it has done successfully for a century in business.
The company’s strategic plan includes a collaboration with the Kearney organization, a highly respected global management consulting firm. “I’ve had previous experience working with Kearney and am confident in their ability to help us mitigate inflation, benefit from their excellence in procurement and for our team to gain a deeper understanding of our profit potential,” said Davis. “Our engagement with Kearney is underway and will conclude before year end. The goal is to achieve the flexibility to not only drive profitability, but also make strategic investments that will support growth and further our technical aptitude.”
The company has also hired a new SVP of Sales and Marketing, with a formal announcement on this role to occur later this month.
“Having just completed my first full quarter with Harte Hanks, I am confident these actions will support our ambitions to have a strong 2024,” said Davis. Davis also noted that he remains comfortable with the most recently disclosed revenue baseline for fiscal 2023.
“Harte Hanks has a proud heritage, and the momentum we have right now is a very positive sign for our next 100 years,” continued CEO Kirk Davis. “We have a highly capable team in place, including many key long-term members of our management team and a creative, smart, motivated group of employees across all departments. We are very enthusiastic about the future and see profitable opportunities ahead for Harte Hanks.”