Petco announced on Wednesday that CEO Ron Coughlin will be stepping down, with board member R. Michael Mohan taking over as the interim chief executive. Coughlin will be serving as an advisor during this transition period. In his statement, Coughlin expressed pride in the work he’s done over the past five years. Mohan, who has been a board member since March 2021, brings a wealth of experience to his new role, having previously served as the chief operating officer and president of Best Buy. The announcement of this leadership change comes at a time when Petco’s market cap has experienced a significant decline, despite consistent sales growth.

Financial Performance

Petco also reported its fiscal fourth-quarter results, which were relatively in line with expectations. The company reported earnings per share of 2 cents, in line with analyst expectations. Revenue came in at $1.67 billion, slightly surpassing the expected $1.62 billion. Despite the positive financial results, Petco’s stock price has been facing downward pressure, with a decline of about 19% year-to-date. This decline in market cap comes in the midst of a slowdown in consumer demand within the pet industry.

The pet industry experienced a surge in demand during the Covid-19 pandemic, as record numbers of families adopted pets. This led to significant gains for retailers like Petco. However, the pace of pet adoptions has since slowed down. Retailers like Petco and Chewy have seen strong sales in essential categories like pet food and medicine, but have struggled with sluggish demand for high-margin items like pet accessories. As a result, companies have had to adapt to changing consumer preferences and spending habits.

Transformation Under Coughlin’s Leadership

Ron Coughlin played a key role in transforming Petco into a health and wellness company during his tenure as CEO. The company stopped selling unhealthy pet products, focused on building out its services and veterinary business, and rebranded as Petco Health and Wellness Co. Coughlin led Petco through its IPO in 2021 and expanded its footprint in the pet health care market. Despite these strategic moves, Petco has faced pressure from investors to drive profitability and create shareholder value.

As R. Michael Mohan takes over as interim CEO, Petco will be focusing on operational discipline and execution to drive growth and improve margins. The company’s services business, which includes veterinary clinics, has shown promising revenue growth. However, it still forms a small portion of the overall revenue. To address investor concerns, Petco will need to demonstrate a clear path to sustained profitability and value creation. Mohan’s leadership will be crucial in navigating Petco through this period of transition and uncertainty in the pet industry.


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