United Stationers makes a change in top management

May 8, 2015 04:39 PM

United Stationers Inc., a distributor of office and industrial supplies to thousands of distributors, wholesalers and resellers, has named board member Robert Aiken Jr. as interim CEO to succeed P. Cody Phipps, who has resigned, the company said last week. The change at the top comes just weeks after the company announced it was changing its name in June to Essendant as part of a new strategic focus on helping its client distributors and wholesalers sell online.

The company, when making the announcement on May 6, said Aiken’s appointment was effective immediately. It added that Phipps was resigning to “pursue another opportunity,” but declined to elaborate.

Phipps had served as president and CEO since 2010, having held the title of president since 2006. He joined United Stationers in 2003, serving as a senior vice president before being promoted to president.

Prior to United Stationers, Phipps worked as a consultant at business management consulting firm McKinsey & Co, where he was a partner in global operations and a partner and co-founder of the service operations practice.

Aiken rejoined the United Stationers board of directors in February, after having served on the board from December 2010 to May 2014. Aiken has held senior management positions at several companies and organizations. He was CEO of Feeding America, a nationwide hunger-relief organization; CEO of Bolder Capital, a private equity firm; and CEO of U.S. Foodservice Inc., a good products distributor.

Sales through the United Stationers’ Internet channel increased 12% year over year in the first quarter ended March 31, to about $133 million from less than $120 million a year earlier, as total sales increased 6% to $1.33 billion, United Stationers has reported.

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