Conduent Names Interim CEO, Suspends Search For Replacement

Interim CEO Cliff Skelton, who joined the company in May from Fiserv Output Solutions, is a former Naval Aviator and squadron commander. He was previously CTO at Ally Financial.


Xerox spinoff Conduent said it has appointed Cliff Skelton as its interim CEO, replacing Ashok Vemuri who stepped down Tuesday. However, the company’s board also said it has stopped looking for a replacement.

Courtney Mather, chairman of the Conduent board, said Skelton (pictured above) will step into the corner office for the time being, since the special committee of the Conduent board leading the search for a new CEO “has determined to suspend the search for the immediate future.”

“We are pleased to have Cliff in this important role,” Mather said. “Given his experience, I am confident that he will provide invaluable guidance on both strategic and operational matters.”

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Skelton was initially hired as the company’s president and chief operating officer at the end of May. His appointment came shortly after Vemuri said he was leaving Conduent when the company posted a losing quarter, amid a public spat with activist investor Carl Icahn.

Vemuri’s last day at Conduent was Tuesday. He has not yet stated his plans after leaving the company. A Conduent spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Prior to his roles at Conduent, Skelton was president at Fiserv Output Solutions, he spent five years as that company’s CIO and executive vice president, and he also had positions at Ally Financial as CTO, as well as Bank of America. Skelton is also a former squadron commander and naval aviator with 20 years in the U.S. Navy.

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Vemuri’s departure came as the Florham Park, N.J.-based business process services company had been dealing with falling revenues and a lower earnings outlook. The company also came under fire in April from resigning board member Michael Nevin – an Icahn employee – who questioned Vemuri’s decision-making after the CEO was offered and accepted a seat on grocery store chain Kroger’s board of directors.

“Ashok, with (former Conduent board) Chairman (William) Parrett’s acquiescence, determined to take this board seat only a few short months after negative disclosures by Conduent resulted in the evaporation of almost half the company’s stock market valuation in a matter of weeks,” Nevin wrote in the letter. Nevin also criticized company leadership around failing to resolve a Medicaid fraud lawsuit brought by the state of Texas that could have saddled the company with $2 billion in damages.

During its last earnings call in May, the company posted disappointing numbers, as new business signings were down 39 percent; the company lost a $140 million contract with the state of California, and its largest customer reduced its sales volume which in turn hurt revenue.

Conduent then adjusted its revenue outlook for the year downward by 3 to 4 percent. The company’s share price has fallen 33.28 percent since that call to $8.34. Conduent’s chief accounting officer Allan Cohen resigned June 14 to “pursue other career opportunities.”