Sector News

Snyder’s-Lance CEO retires suddenly, interim leader named

April 18, 2017
Food & Drink

Carl Lee Jr., who came to Snyder’s-Lance Inc. with the 2010 merger of Lance Inc. with a Pennsylvania snack company, has retired as CEO of the Charlotte-based company.

Brian Driscoll, who came to Snyder’s-Lance with the purchase last year of Diamond Foods, is the new interim CEO of the company.

James Johnston, chairman of the Snyder’s-Lance board of directors, is already speaking highly of Driscoll as if he has a permanent shot at the CEO job.

“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,” Johnston says in a news release about Lee’s retirement.

Johnston continues, “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.”

Lee’s departure surprised stock analysts and brought about an 18% dive in Snyder’s-Lance share value by mid-morning Monday.

In the retirement announcement, the company included a forecast that first-quarter earnings per share should be at 11 cents to 12 cents per share. Net sales should increase as much as 19% when compared to the first quarter of 2016 to as much as $532 million, the statement says.

The company is expected to report its first-quarter 2017 earnings on May 8.

Lee was CEO of Snyder’s of Hanover when Lance bought the company in 2010. He took over as CEO of the combined company in May 2013, when David Singer retired.

Salary.com says Lee earned $3.5 million in 2016 as CEO.

By Ken Elkins

Source: Charlotte Business Journal

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