With no build-up or transition time built in, Snyder's-Lance Inc. on April 17 announced that its president/CEO, Carl Lee Jr., had retired after 12 years at the company. Brian Driscoll, a former food company CEO and a current director of Snyder's-Lance, immediately stepped in as interim CEO.
Chairman James Johnston offered a single sentence honoring Lee: "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." He then went on to laud Driscoll, who "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 was CEO of Snyder’s of Hanover when it merged with Lance Inc. in 2010. He took over as CEO of the combined company in May 2013 when David Singer retired.
Driscoll joined the board of directors after Snyder's-Lance acquired Diamond Foods, of which he was president/CEO, in February of 2016. He took over Diamond after an accounting scandal cost its former CEO, Michael Mendes, his job. In addition to the accounting issue, Diamond was heavily in debt. Earlier, Driscoll shepherded Hostess Brands through its bankruptcy and eventual liquidation. In all, Driscoll has more than 35 years of experience in the food industry.
Driscoll said, "I plan to immediately diagnose the underlying drivers of the company's margin and revenue performance and put in place strategies to continue to deliver on the expectations of our shareholders."
Snyder's-Lance said it will launch a national search for a permanent CEO but noted Driscoll "is considered a strong candidate for that role."