UKG, an HR tech company created in 2020 by the merger of Kronos and Ultimate Software, has named its president, Chris Todd, as its new CEO.
Todd replaces Aron Ain, who became chairman and CEO of UKG after the merger. Previously, Ain had been CEO of Kronos Inc., a company based in Lowell, Mass., that is known for its widely used payroll systems. Ain began working at Kronos in 1979, according to his LinkedIn profile.
In selecting Todd, UKG is ensuring continuity of management. Todd became president of Kronos in 2018 under Ain, with the two working together for four years.
Todd was named CEO July 1, and Ain will become executive chairman of the board of directors. This change was expected and part of the company’s succession plan, according to UKG. As executive chairman, Ain will still have some hands-on roles including working with customers and partners, the company said.
Elevating from within
Based on data collected by Spencer Stuart, an executive search firm in Chicago, filling CEO positions internally is the norm. Internal promotions, for instance, accounted for 80% of all CEO transitions last year, it reported.
Ray Wang, principal analyst at Constellation Research, said that “in complex post-mergers, you want to make sure you have a leader that both sides trust, and time to build esprit de corps along with bringing the different company cultures together.”
Todd “would have been one of the top candidates to bring the company to the next chapter,” Wang said.
Hellman & Friedman LLC, a private equity firm that owned Kronos, paid $11 billion for Ultimate Software, which is based in Weston, Fla. The acquisition led to the creation of UKG, short for the Ultimate Kronos Group.
Todd started at Kronos in 2007, and his career included working for management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., and investment bank S.G. Warburg & Co. He graduated from Yale Law School.
In a statement, Todd said, “I am fortunate to have been mentored by an incredible person and CEO, and beyond proud to have the honor to lead such an amazing group of talented individuals who are driven to help organizations be successful by focusing on their people.”
In the wake of ransomware
UKG’s year began on a rough note. A December ransomware attack disrupted customer payroll operations, followed by several lawsuits over security risks and inaccurate pay.
But the tide could be changing for UKG. In its leadership change announcement, the company stated it believes it will make $4 billion in revenue in 2023, a year earlier than expected.
Patrick Thibodeau covers HCM and ERP technologies for TechTarget. He’s worked for more than two decades as an enterprise IT reporter.