Business

From Twinkies to snack crackers: Charlotte’s Snyder’s-Lance gets a new boss

Toast Chee crackers descend into the creamer machine where the peanut butter is applied at the Snyder’s-Lance plant in Charlotte in March 2015.
Toast Chee crackers descend into the creamer machine where the peanut butter is applied at the Snyder’s-Lance plant in Charlotte in March 2015. jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte snack maker Snyder’s-Lance has named Brian Driscoll its new president and CEO. Driscoll had been serving as interim CEO since April, when the manufacturer’s previous chief executive Carl Lee Jr. stepped down abruptly.

Driscoll previously served as CEO of Diamond Foods, the maker of snacks like Pop Secret popcorn and Emerald snack nuts that Snyder’s-Lance acquired in 2016. Before joining Diamond Foods in 2012, Driscoll served as CEO of Hostess Brands, the maker of Twinkies and other sweet snacks.

In a statement Wednesday, Snyder’s-Lance Chairman Jim Johnston said the board has been impressed with the “significant progress” made by Driscoll and the management team over the last several months to create a “comprehensive performance improvement plan” for the company.

In April, Snyder’s-Lance said it faced “difficult challenges” that weighed on its first quarter earnings. Increased investments in promotional and marketing spending, the company said, hurt performance and more than offset cost-savings from the Diamond Foods deal.

Snyder’s-Lance – known for Snyder’s of Hanover pretzels and Lance peanut butter sandwich crackers – did not say whether Lee’s early retirement was linked to its disappointing first-quarter financial performance, but the company did say that under Driscoll’s leadership, it is moving aggressively to improving earnings.

“Brian’s impressive experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, combined with his knowledge of the Diamond Foods brands and early strides in the role, make him uniquely qualified to lead the Company,” Johnston said.

In early trading, Snyder’s-Lance was down more than 3.5 percent at $34.88.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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