The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Owens & Minor Finds Timing Right with Phipps Hire

Soon after resigning, United Stationers CEO tapped to succeed retiring Bierman.
Eric-Smith-84x84

Sometimes succession planning relies on good timing, and the timing of the alliance between Cody Phipps and Owens & Minor was ideal.

When Phipps resigned from his post as president and CEO of United Stationers, Owens & Minor was a couple of months into searching for a replacement for James Bierman. The company had announced the retirement of Bierman in February, when the outgoing CEO "asked that a search for his successor be initiated.”

“Transitioning from one leader to another is a significant event for any company, and we believe it is vital that we identify the right person to lead Owens & Minor into the future,” Bierman said. “In looking ahead, I recognized that this executive leadership transition could take a significant amount of time. Therefore, I thought it was appropriate to begin the process now, in order to ensure a seamless transition.”

The same week of Bierman's announcement, Phipps had his own news to share – United Stationers would reposition to its new brand, Essendant. Two months later, Phipps resigned, and Owens & Minor hadn't yet found Bierman's replacement, so the company's succession plan benefited from a timely industry departure as well as its own planning and patience.

"Today's announcement represents the culmination of the board's thorough and successful search process for a leader for this exceptional and critical role," said Owens & Minor board chair Craig Smith. "The company is poised to benefit from the leadership of a dynamic and strategically focused executive such as Cody Phipps."

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