Snyder’s-Lance CEO Carl Lee leaves abruptly

  • Signs for push-out forces
  • After almost four years on the job
  • Thanks for Lee, Jr.
  • Brian J. Driscoll taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor

(exechange) — Charlotte, North Carolina, April 17, 2017 — This news came the day after Easter Sunday. Carl Lee, Jr., chief executive of Snyder’s-Lance, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Monday, April 17, 2017, Carl E. Lee, Jr. has already left the post as Chief Executive Officer at the salty snack maker in a surprising move after almost four years on the job, effective April 11, 2017.

Snyder’s-Lance will undertake a search for a successor.

Lee, Jr.’s duties are taken over in the interim by Brian J. Driscoll, a former Chief Executive Officer at Diamond Foods.

Already a director

Driscoll is already a director of Snyder’s-Lance. Often a board member is a last resort, someone who is turned to in desperation when a company can’t find other suitable candidates. On the other hand, directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Driscoll understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Snyder’s-Lance’s organization, finances and strategy.

“Recent performance challenges”

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Snyder’s-Lance said in a fairly blunt statement: “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.”

Precise information about the future plans of Lee, Jr. was not immediately available.


Snyder’s-Lance said: “Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. has announced that its President and CEO, Carl E. Lee, Jr., has retired after 12 years of service to the Company.”

Snyder’s-Lance said: “Effective as of April 11, 2017 (the “Effective Date”), Carl E. Lee, Jr. retired from his positions as President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Company, as well as from his positions as an officer and/or director of each of the Company’s subsidiaries.”

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. since April 13, 2017.

Chaired by James W. Johnston

Snyder’s-Lance, Inc. is chaired by James W. Johnston.

Johnston has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Stonemarker Enterprises, Inc., a Mooresville, NC consulting and investment company, since 1996.

On the job as CEO since 2013

Carl E. Lee, Jr. has served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Snyder’s-Lance since May 2013 and previously served as the President and Chief Operating Officer beginning in December 2010.

He served as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Snyder’s of Hanover, Inc. from 2005 until December 2010.

From 1986 until 1997, Lee held various sales and marketing positions with Frito-Lay, including Vice President and General Manager for Frito-Lay Southeast Region and managing sales for Frito-Lay Europe.

In 1997, Lee began working for Nabisco where he led their South American business, served as President of their Caricam Region and their Southern Cone Region.

Lee also led Nabisco’s Global Export business which covered 95 countries.

Lee has served on the board of directors of Welch’s Foods since 2009 and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. since November 2014.

Lee served as a member of the board of directors of Snyder’s until December 2010 when he was elected to the Company’s board of directors in connection with the merger.


As a general rule, when a top manager announces to step down with no permanent successor available, it is a sign that the change was unplanned and too early.

Signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Carl Lee, Jr.’s sudden move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the management change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 17.2017 ($).