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Owens & Minor Finds Timing Right with Phipps Hire

Soon after resigning, United Stationers CEO tapped to succeed retiring Bierman.

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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