Mullany Resigns as ServiceMaster CEO

By Bill Dries

Hank Mullany has resigned as CEO of The ServiceMaster Co. effective Friday, April 12.

Mullany’s resignation was announced Friday along with the appointment of John Krenicki Jr. as the Memphis-based company’s interim CEO.

Krenicki remains as chairman of ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc, the parent company of ServiceMaster, and a senior partner of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the private equity firm that bought ServiceMaster in 2007.

Krenicki became chairman of the parent company earlier this year.

ServiceMaster provides residential and commercial services through seven brands and a franchise network that include Terminix, TruGreen, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Clean and Merry Maids.

Mullany became CEO in March 2011 from being executive vice president of Walmart U.S.

His first move – and his first challenge – was addressing ServiceMaster’s TruGreen lawn care business.

Under his successor, Patrick Spainhour, ServiceMaster had already planned to sell off the TruGreen LandCare commercial landscaping business. That happened during Mullany’s first month as CEO. Mullany followed that by replacing the TruGreen head with Tom Brackett from the Terminix division.

Mullany wanted Brackett to apply Terminix practices to give TruGreen more consistency and standardization. He also intended for Brackett to be a temporary leader of TruGreen. He pulled a vice president of sales from Terminix into TruGreen as well.

“Basically we’re going around to homes and knocking on the door and talking about the service,” Mullany said in an October 2011 interview with The Daily News. “We had expanded that beyond where it was optimal.”

By contrast he praised Terminix operations for their consistency, which he touted as a key attribute in a service industry where the national economic ebb and flow has a less dramatic impact than it does on retail businesses.

“If we lose a customer, it’s because we made a mistake,” Mullany said.

Brackett became the permanent head of TruGreen as the division’s makeover became more involved and quarterly results continued to show problems.

Brackett resigned in October and ServiceMaster overall results for 2012 showed an unaudited operating loss of $532.8 million on operating revenue of $3.1 billion.

When the year-end and fourth quarter results were announced in February, Mullany noted that excluding TruGreen, ServiceMaster operating revenue grew 5.2 percent over 2011.