Essendant CEO Bob Aiken leaves for TreeHouse

  • Push-out Score suggests signs for push-out forces
  • After less than two years on the job
  • Praise, thanks and good wishes for Aiken
  • Ric Phillips taking over in the interim
  • Search for a successor
  • Aiken kept it short and said 34 words

(exechange) — Deerfield, Illinois, June 13, 2017 — Bob Aiken, chief executive of Essendant, leaves. It is an abrupt change. As announced by Essendant Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Robert B. (Bob) Aiken has already left the post as Chief Executive Officer at the furniture company in a surprising move after less than two years on the job, effective June 12, 2017.

No company wants a CEO to flame out in the first years.

Essendant will undertake a search for a successor.

Aiken’s duties are taken over in the interim by Ric Phillips, currently Group President of Industrial at Essendant Inc.

Career change

The sudden management change is explained as follows. Essendant said: “Mr. Phillips succeeds Robert B. Aiken, Jr., who has resigned as President and CEO and as a Director to pursue an opportunity outside the Company.”

Aiken will be President and Chief Operating Officer at TreeHouse

“Robert B. Aiken, Jr., 54, has been appointed President and Chief Operating Officer of TreeHouse, effective July 10, 2017,” TreeHouse Foods said. TreeHouse Foods announced the move on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. TreeHouse Foods, Inc. is a food and beverage manufacturer.


Essendant said: “On June 12, 2017, Robert B. Aiken, Jr. notified Essendant Inc. (the “Company”) of his resignation, effective as of such date (the “Resignation Date”), as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Essendant Co. and Essendant Management Services LLC (collectively, the “Companies”) and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Company (the “Board”).”

Share price decline

The change follows a sharp decline in the share price of Essendant Inc. since February 2015.

Chaired by Charles K. Crovitz

Essendant Inc. is chaired by Charles K. Crovitz.

On the job as CEO since 2015

Aiken was elected to the Company’s Board of Directors in February 2015 and was then named interim CEO in May 2015, followed by CEO in July 2015.

He previously served on the Company’s Board of Directors from December 2010 to May 2014, at which time he stepped down from the Board due to the demands of his position as the Chief Executive Officer of Feeding America, the nation’s leading hunger relief organization.

Aiken was CEO of Feeding America from November 2012 to February 2015.

Prior to this role, Aiken was the CEO of the food company portfolio at Bolder Capital, a private equity firm.

Aiken previously served as Managing Director of Capwell Partners LLC, a private-equity firm focused on companies offering health and wellness products and services.

Aiken was in the private-equity business from February 2010 until his appointment at Feeding America.

Prior to that time, Aiken was the President and Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Foodservice, one of the country’s premier foodservice distributors.

Aiken joined U.S. Foodservice in 2004 and held several senior executive positions including President and Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Strategy and Governance before being named Chief Executive Officer in 2007.

From 2000 until 2004, Aiken also served as President and Principal of Milwaukee Sign Co., a privately held manufacturing firm.

From 1994 to 2000, Aiken was an executive with Specialty Foods Corporation, where he held several positions, including President and Chief Executive Officer of Metz Baking Company.

Early in Aiken’s career, he worked as a business lawyer.

Push-out Score suggests signs for push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Bob Aiken’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 25.2017 ($).