Since I write this blog (when I write it) primarily for our Thomas Nelson employees, this will likely be old news. But, I felt this is probably something I should document for the sake of the few readers who won’t get the news any other way.
On Thursday, August 18, the Thomas Nelson Board of Directors made me the new CEO. Sam Moore, the former CEO, who had held the job for forty-seven years, will continue to serve as the Chairman of the Board. You can read the press release here. My new title is “President & Chief Executive Officer.”
Mr. Moore made the announcement at the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting, which was held immediately after the Board meeting. He gave me a gavel with my name, the date, and my new title inscribed on it. Obviously, he had been thinking about it for a while, but I only learned of his decision and the Board’s the day before.
At the Shareholders’ Meeting, Mr. Moore gave me a five-fold charge:
- Make your family your top priority and remain faithful to your wife. (Actually, he said it a little more colorfully than this, but this is what he meant.)
- Take care of your customers and your authors. If you do this, everything else will take care of itself.
- Be kind to your employees. You have to take care of those who take care of you.
- Be careful with the overhead. “A CEO has to have one glass eye and one real eye.” He has to be able to say, “No.”
- Remember your old man (Mr. Moore). “He’s the one who brought you to the dance.”
I was very touched by his words. He is a tough act to follow. When the tenure of the average CEO today is five years, his forty-seven years as CEO are particularly noteworthy. He’s been more than a CEO; he’s the patriarch of our company. I’m convinced that people will still be celebrating his life and legacy a hundred years from now.