DEERFIELD, IL — United Stationers Inc., a supplier of workplace essentials, announced Wednesday that its Board of Directors has appointed current Board member Robert B. Aiken Jr., 52, interim president chief executive officer, effective immediately. Mr. Aiken will succeed P. Cody Phipps, who has resigned as president and chief executive officer and as a director to pursue another opportunity.
The Board has established a search committee to oversee the process of identifying a permanent chief executive officer. The committee consists of independent directors Jean S. Blackwell, Paul S. Williams and Stuart A. Taylor II, who will serve as committee chair. The search process will include a full review of internal and external candidates.
"The Board and Cody believe that now is the right time to pursue a leadership transition," said Charles K. Crovitz, chairman of United Stationers' board of directors. "On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Cody for his years of service to the company and wish him all the best."
Crovitz continued, "Bob Aiken is an accomplished executive and proven leader with significant strategic, merchandising and operations experience, and we are grateful that he has agreed to step in to lead the company through this transition. Bob understands our business well and we are confident in his ability to work closely with our strong management team and committed employees to drive execution of our strategy. We will continue to position the company to create value for our customers and deliver sustained profitable growth for our shareholders by becoming the fastest and most convenient solution for workplace essentials."
United Stationers – which rebrands as Essendant effective June 1 – appointed a new COO and CIO on April 17.
Mr. Aiken rejoined the United Stationers' board of directors in February 2015 after previously serving as a director from December 2010 to May 2014. Throughout his career, Mr. Aiken has held chief executive officer positions at companies with revenues of up to$18 billion. Most recently, he was chief executive officer of Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief organization. Prior to this role, Mr. Aiken was chief executive officer of the food company portfolio at Bolder Capital, a private equity firm. From 2004 to 2010, Mr. Aiken served in senior leadership positions at U.S. Foodservice, Inc., a leading foodservice distributor, where he most recently served as president and chief executive officer. Prior to joining U.S. Foodservice, Mr. Aiken was president of Milwaukee Sign Co. and president and chief executive officer of Metz Baking Company. He began his career as a corporate attorney.