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Smith & Wesson CEO ousted over misconduct



The parent company of gunmaker Smith & Wesson has ousted its CEO because he allegedly broke an unspecified corporate rule.

Chief executive James Debney left his post at American Outdoor Brands Corporation after its board of directors found he “engaged in conduct inconsistent with a non-financial company policy,” the company said in a Wednesday news release.

The firm did not offer further details about Debney’s alleged misconduct but said he has been replaced by co-CEOs Mark Smith and Brian Murphy.

“We appreciate James’ contributions toward the growth and development of our company and its infrastructure,” American Outdoor Brands chairman Barry Monheit said in a statement released after the company’s stock closed up 1.2 percent Wednesday at $9.58.

The shakeup came less than a week before the SHOT Show, a major gun industry event set to start Tuesday in Las Vegas. Smith & Wesson is listed as an exhibitor at the show, along with other American Outdoor Brands names such as Caldwell, Lockdown and Crimson Trace.

Debney had been president and CEO of American Outdoor Brands, previously known as Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation, since 2011. He was expected to lead the firm following its planned spinoff of the Smith & Wesson gun business, which was announced in November.

Smith will now become president and CEO of the firearms company, Smith & Wesson Brands, once the spinoff is complete, and Murphy will become president and CEO of American Outdoor Brands, the company said.

With Post wires

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