Lance Inc. announced that director David V. Singer has been named president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.
Singer, former executive vice president and chief financial officer of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated, succeeds chairman, president and chief executive officer Paul A. Stroup III, who is leaving the company to pursue other interests.
"Lance possesses strong brands, great products, a phenomenal customer base and exceptional people," Singer said. "I am deeply honored and genuinely excited about the opportunity that we have to tap the significant, unrealized potential of these assets in order to grow our business and enhance the value of our stockholders' investment."
In a related move, directors elected Wilbur J. (Bill) Prezzano to the newly created position of non-executive chairman of the board. Prezzano had been lead independent director on the Lance board since 2003. He is a retired vice chairman of Eastman Kodak Company.
"We owe a debt of gratitude to Paul Stroup for his unwavering dedication to Lance for 31 years and for maintaining the strength of our brands as well as other existing assets," Prezzano said. "In the process of assessing the company's future direction, the board concluded that Dave could bring to the management team a combination of experience, skills and a strategic vision that would be uniquely applicable to the task of realizing the potential we believe exists for all of our constituencies, including our stockholders, employees, customers, consumers and suppliers."
After joining Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated in 1986, Singer rose from the position of vice president and treasurer to become vice president and chief financial officer in 1987, a position he held until 2001, when he was named executive vice president. He served as executive vice president and chief financial officer from 2001 until joining Lance's management team.
During the course of his 19-year career at Coke Consolidated, Singer was directly involved in negotiating, closing and financing approximately 20 bottling acquisitions; developing a bottling joint venture with The Coca-Cola Company; and overseeing significant improvements in operating efficiency, including a major consolidation of Coke Consolidated's distribution system. His direct leadership experiences also included responsibility for Coke Consolidated's financial functions, manufacturing operations, purchasing function, transportation, and fleet and facilities management.
Singer applauded the creation of the non-executive chairmanship.
"This is a change that is in keeping with corporate governance best practices, and it's a change that should send a positive signal to all of our stockholders," Singer said. "We believe it is in the best interests of the company and our stockholders to have an absolutely independent outside director in this vital position."