Things That Make You Go Hmm

PurchasePro's flamboyant CEO steps down; successor remains a mystery

Las Vegas  May 22, 2001  It personally saddens me to report that Charles "Junior" Johnson, CEO, founder and chairman of the board at PurchasePro, has left the company and resigned his position on the board.

As a journalist, Junior's resignation is a big loss because there was always something interesting to write about when he was in charge. This is a man that moved his company to Las Vegas because of his love for gambling. This is a man who built his company from the ground up with a bunch of his hometown buddies from Kentucky. This is a man who had sales reps disguised as shuttle operators pick Ariba convention-goers up at the airport as a means of "catching" new customers. This is a plot so thick you could spread it on a bagel.

But maybe things won't get too dull after all. So far, Johnson¹s resignation seems to be making the plot even thicker.

According to a company press release issued yesterday, R. Todd Bradley, a member of the board of directors, has been named chairman of the board, as Mr. Johnson's successor. But the announcement made no mention of a new CEO.

I contacted Matthew Brimhall, manager of public relations at PurchasePro, to ask if I was to assume that Bradley was named CEO as well as board of directors. He informed me that I should not make that assumption, and that no CEO has been named. In addition, he was unclear as to when a release would be issued from the company regarding the appointment.

So who will be the new leader of PurchasePro? Who can fill those eccentric shoes, or cowboy boots, as the case may be? Well, I have found one clue.

In reviewing the press release, it struck me as peculiar that so little of it focused on Johnson and his successor, Bradley, but that so much of it focused on Richard Clemmer, the chief financial officer of the company. After a brief announcement of the transition and a quote from the board of directors, the release focused on lengthy comments made by Clemmer "on behalf of the company," and also included his personal biography synopsis.

I shared my confusion with Mr. Brimmell and asked him why the announcement seemed to morph into a release on Clemmer. His response was, "You¹ll have to make your own conclusions about that one."


Junior Johnson may no longer be at PurchasePro, but it looks like this company will still be fun to watch.