Published in Food/Agribusiness

SpartanNash President/CEO Dave Staples resigns, former CEO Dennis Eidson returns

BY Monday, August 12, 2019 10:47am

SpartanNash Co.’s present chairman and former CEO, Dennis Eidson, returned to running the company today following the abrupt resignation of President and CEO David Staples amid an expected quarterly loss.

The Byron Center-based grocery wholesaler and retailer said Eidson would serve as interim president and CEO, effective immediately, until a new chief executive is hired. Eidson, who previously served as SpartanNash president and CEO from 2008 to 2017, will continue as board chairman.

Dennis Eidson and David Staples COURTESY PHOTOS

The leadership change coincides with SpartanNash (Nasdaq: SPTN) reporting a preliminary loss of $6.8 million, or 19 cents per share, from continuing operations. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations totaled $12.1 million, or 34 cents per share.

The company plans to report full results Thursday and expects to report sales of $2.0 billion for the second quarter, compared to net sales of $1.9 billion for the same period in 2018.

“The board remains confident in the company’s strategic direction and its ability to generate top line growth. However, execution has fallen short of our expectations and we believe that now is the time for a leadership change,” said Douglas Hacker, lead independent director on the SpartanNash board. “I want to thank Dennis for returning to the leadership position to guide the company’s efforts in revitalizing performance and maximizing long-term shareholder value.”

SpartanNash appointed Staples CEO in March 2017. He previously served as president and chief operating officer and worked with Eidson to orchestrate the transformational $1.3 billion merger of Spartan Stores with Nash Finch in 2013.

“I am confident in the strength of our platform and look forward to working with our talented team to deliver improved performance,” Eidson said. “Our focus will be on enhancing our distribution business, driving operational execution and organizational development while positioning SpartanNash to achieve long-term profitable growth and improved value for shareholders. In order to provide transparency, we have elected to preview our second quarter financial results, as well as our current outlook for the balance of the year.”

Under that guidance, SpartanNash expects full-year sales growth in the mid-single digits with 21 cents to 47 cents in per-share earnings from continuing operations, a reduction from prior guidance of 70 cents to $1.04 per share. The company expects adjusted earnings from continuing operations of $1.20 to $1.35 per share. 

SpartanNash also said it plans to exit its Indianapolis-based Fresh Kitchen operations, which was a part of SpartanNash’s 2017 acquisition of Caito Foods, to improve operating earnings and EBITDA results within its food distribution segment. The move will impact sales by about $20 million.

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