CEO Targeted by Long-Term Employee


Chicago was rocked this afternoon with the news of yet another workplace violence tragedy. Early reports indicate that Steven LaVoie, Chairman and CEO of Arrowstream, was shot at close range by the firm's Chief Technology Officer, Tony DeFrances. DeFrances then killed himself. While responding police indicated that Mr. DeFrances was motivated by a recent demotion, it is important to keep in mind that these situations are always more complicated than they initially appear. Very few individuals who experience a demotion or job loss will even consider a violent response, much less go through with it.

Arrowstream itself is a provider of supply chain management technology with clients including Applebee's, IHOP, and Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits. While an event such as this is intensely personal, there are numerous business implications that cannot be neglected. Especially for a relatively small company, major customers will want to know what effect the shooting of the company's founder and CEO will have. For Arrowstream, the implications of the perpetrator being the firm's Chief Technology Officer, with assumingly unfettered access to the company's key systems, also must be addressed.

Occurring less than one mile from HUB's headquarters at the other end of LaSalle Street, this shooting is a reminder to us all that no one is immune from this threat. Supervisors and top executives must accept the fact that they are likely to be targeted in the event of a workplace violence event perpetrated by a current or former employee. More than that, they must dedicate themselves and their companies to a proactive stance on this issue and adopt best practices wherever possible to reduce their risk.

Please click here to access a HUB webinar on workplace violence prevention, and click here for our recent crisis management bulletin on mass shootings.