Snyder's-Lance c.e.o. steps down

by Keith Nunes
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Carl Lee, Snyder's-Lance
Carl E. Lee, Jr., c.e.o. of Snyder’s-Lance, has retired from the company after 12 years.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carl E. Lee Jr., the chief executive officer of Snyder’s-Lance, Inc., has retired from the company after 12 years. No reason was given for Mr. Lee’s abrupt retirement. Brian J. Driscoll, a current member of the company’s board of directors, has been named interim c.e.o.

Brian Driscoll, Diamond Foods
Brian J. Driscoll, interim c.e.o. for Snyder's-Lance

Mr. Driscoll is the former president and c.e.o. of Diamond Foods, which Snyder’s-Lance acquired in early 2016. Prior to joining Diamond Foods, he served as the c.e.o. of Hostess Brands, Inc. from July 2010 to March 2012.

“On behalf of the entire Snyder’s-Lance organization, the board of directors would like to thank Carl for his many contributions to the company and welcome Brian into his new role,” said James Johnston, chairman of the board. “We see great potential in the strategic direction of the company and are excited to have access to Brian’s talent and experience to bring the company to the next level of performance. With increased focus on margin expansion and profitable growth, we are confident that Brian has the skills to address some of the recent performance challenges, as well as drive the company to a level of profitability more in line with the expectations of our shareholders.”

Mr. Lee became c.e.o. of Snyders’-Lance in 2013, succeeding David V. Singer who had taken the helm when Snyder’s of Hanover Inc. and Lance Inc. merged in 2010. Prior to his role with Snyder’s-Lance, he had been the chief executive of Snyder’s of Hanover for five years.

Snyder’s-Lance also released its preliminary results for the first quarter of fiscal 2017. Net income is expected to range between 13c to 14c per share on the common stock, and sales are expected to be in a range between $530 million to $532 million, according to the company.

During the first quarter of fiscal 2016, ended April 2, the company recorded a loss of $25,431,000. Sales for the quarter were $462,765,000.

“Our company faced difficult challenges during the first quarter that have negatively impacted earnings,” said Alex Pease, executive vice-president and chief financial officer. “Although we saw sales and market share growth in the majority of our categories, this has come at a higher cost than planned. Increased investments in promotional and marketing spending combined with gross margin pressure had an adverse effect on our performance and more than offset the benefits of synergy delivery related to the Diamond Foods transaction.

“Under Brian’s leadership, we are moving aggressively to take the actions necessary to improve earnings. Specifically, we are focused on improving cost of goods productivity, net price realization, and accelerating our zero-based budgeting plans. We are not satisfied with our early 2017 performance, and our organization is laser-focused on improved execution and continuous improvement to return the business back to more expected levels of profitability.”
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