CEO of Smith & Wesson owner out after misconduct allegations

The parent of Smith & Wesson has replaced its chief executive following misconduct allegations.

Springfield-based American Outdoor Brands, which owns an array of shooting, hunting, and outdoor brands, said its board of directors found that James Debney had ‘‘engaged in conduct inconsistent with a non-financial company policy.’’ American Outdoor did not provide specifics about what that policy is or when the offense took place, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday morning.

‘‘We appreciate James’ contributions toward the growth and development of our company and its infrastructure,’’ Barry Monheit, chairman of the board, said in a statement.


Debney had been at the helm of American Outdoor and its predecessor company since 2011, expanding its portfolio through a slew of acquisitions. The firearms industry’s fortunes are typically a sign of the political climate: Sales surge when consumers fear an administration might usher in stricter gun laws. But revenue have slipped during the Trump era.

American Outdoor has plans to split into two publicly traded companies later this year, with one focusing on firearms and the other on outdoor goods. In November, American Outdoor announced that Debney would become CEO of the outdoor products company after the spin off.

American Outdoors named Mark Smith and Brian Murphy as joint CEOs. Once American Outdoor splits, Murphy will lead the outdoor business, and Smith will take over the gun company. American Outdoor said the division is carrying on as planned.