Aaron’s Chief Executive Officer Ron Allen, under intense pressure to improve the financial performance of the once very profitable Atlanta-based rent-to-own giant, is stepping down.
The company announced Wednesday that Allen will retire Aug. 31 and that executive recruiting firm Spencer Stuart has been hired to find his replacement.
The news brings to an end a tumultuous tenure for Allen, the former head of Delta Air Lines, who was named Aaron’s CEO in 2012.
The company was the target of an unsolicited $2.3 billion takeover bid earlier this year and its profit in the most recent quarter dropped a whopping 67 percent.
Aaron’s also faced a $95 million sexual harassment lawsuit, allegations the company spied on customers through rented computers and was investigated by the California attorney general’s office for its business practices.
Earlier this year, at the company’s national managers meeting in Kissimmee, Fla, Allen was forced to walk back a number of changes the company had undertaken to enhance its performance after franchisees threatened to mutiny, including a few calls for his resignation.
A day after that gathering, Allen told a full meeting of Aaron’s employees, store operators and franchisees that the company was facing a mountain of problems when he took over.
“Because of these many issues and the surrounding publicity, we had a very large target on our back for plaintiffs’ lawyers and federal and state regulators all over the country, ” Allen said.