Steve Zarrilli: Carrying on the Safeguard Torch of Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Posted by | October 25, 2012

As many of you know, earlier this morning I announced that I will be retiring from Safeguard Scientifics at the Company’s annual meeting of shareholders on May 23, 2013. Steve Zarrilli, Safeguard’s current CFO, will succeed me effective November 1, 2012. From November 2012 until May 2013, I will provide transitional support to Steve as CEO emeritus. For the balance of 2013, I will serve as senior advisor to Safeguard.  The satisfaction I’ve gained from growing Safeguard and its roster of high-potential companies is exceeded only by my immense pleasure from working with the board, Steve and the rest of the Safeguard team.

In many ways, this comes at a perfect time for me, number one. Steve is the right person to lead Safeguard going forward, number two. And this is really the right time to make a change.

For me, I’m on the edge of turning 67. And after a long marriage and 20 years as an empty nester, I find myself all of a sudden a grandparent of two grandchildren, just eight months apart. And my family and I have agreed that this is the time for me to stop “slaying dragons” and start spending some time spoiling my grandchildren.

Now, Steve has been my partner for several years, transforming Safeguard from its post-bubble self, navigating the financial crisis and then building Safeguard to its current stable, and much more valuable, self. He’s demonstrated that he knows how to scout for value. He knows how to build value. He knows how to realize value. He can manage his way through complex situations in and outside of capital markets. He can lead and he understands Safeguard’s team dynamic. So, I have a great deal of confidence that Steve, along with the Safeguard team, can take the Safeguard platform and then reach new heights.

Research has also shown that the most successful managerial transition is actually an internal succession plan. So, I really have confidence in Jim, Steve, Brian, John, and the rest of the team at Safeguard, to take a powerful plan, execute it well, and realize some outstanding results.

I am exceedingly proud of the team we have built here at Safeguard. We could not have achieved the success we have enjoyed without their diligent efforts and commitment to entrepreneurs and innovation. Since I joined Safeguard, SFE stock price hit a 10-year high; average daily dollar trading volume has increased 6x; the number of covering analysts increased from one to seven; and SFE has significantly outperformed its peer group and major indices, such as the Russell 2000 and Dow Jones.

I want you to know that this decision was part an orderly succession plan. I have no doubt that the legacy we have built at Safeguard and its ability to build value in partner companies will continue under Steve’s stewardship.

So now I turn the reins over to a strong, capable partner in Steve and the Safeguard team, who will continue to build value in current holdings, realize valuable exits, replenish our holdings with winners and expand the platform.

My passion for entrepreneurship remains strong. My door remains open and I expect to continue to support the good works of Safeguard in the months and years to come.


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