Posted June 13, 2017

Essendant president and CEO resigns

Essendant announced that Richard D. Phillips, group president of Industrial, has been appointed interim president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.

Phillips succeeds Robert B. Aiken Jr., who has resigned as president and CEO and as a director to pursue an opportunity outside the company. The board has formed a search committee chaired by Essendant director Paul S. Williams and has retained an independent search firm to assist in the process of selecting a permanent CEO.

"Ric has demonstrated exceptional leadership in key growth areas since joining Essendant in 2013, including guiding the expansion of our ecommerce relationships and driving improved performance in Industrial. We are pleased he has agreed to serve as interim President and CEO," said Charles K. Crovitz, Essendant's chairman of the board. "We are confident that under Ric's leadership, our ongoing efforts to transform Essendant will continue to progress as the Board diligently conducts its search for a permanent leader."

Phillips added, "I am honored to step into this new role at Essendant as we continue to execute our transformation plan. I am confident in our future and look forward to working closely with the Board and the rest of the Essendant team to deliver improved performance and long-term value for shareholders."

Aiken concluded, "It has been a privilege to serve as Essendant's CEO. I am confident that the company is in good hands and will continue to build momentum under Ric and the rest of the team."

Phillips joined Essendant in January 2013 as president of Online and New Channels and was named president, ORS Nasco, in November 2015. He was named group president of Industrial in August 2016, when he added responsibility for Essendant's automotive and e-commerce businesses. Prior to joining Essendant, Phillips spent 14 years at McKinsey & Company, where he was elected partner in 2005 and worked across industry sectors, with a functional emphasis in strategy, commercial performance and operations. He previously spent six years at Baxter Healthcare in various finance and sales roles. Phillips earned a B.S. degree in Finance from Indiana University and a Masters of Management degree, with distinction, from the Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University.