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Snyder's-Lance CEO retires unexpectedly

Katherine Peralta, The Charlotte Observer (TNS)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Shares of snack maker Snyder's-Lance plunged Monday after the company announced that Carl Lee retired unexpectedly as CEO. The Charlotte-based manufacturer also said it has faced "difficult challenges" that have weighed on first-quarter earnings.

The stock closed Monday at $33.76, down more than 15 percent.

Lee, 57, was the CEO of Snyder's of Hanover from 2005 until December 2010, when the Hanover company merged with Charlotte-based Lance. Lee then became the merged company's chief operating officer, and assumed the role of CEO in May 2013.

Brian Driscoll, former CEO of Diamond Foods and a member of Snyder's-Lance's board, has stepped in as interim CEO. The company said in a statement it will launch a national search for a permanent replacement for Lee. Driscoll is a "strong candidate" for the position.

Driscoll was CEO of Diamond Foods until Snyder's-Lance bought the company in early 2016. Snyder's-Lance said late last year it was selling Blue Diamond's nut business to a private equity firm called Blue Road Capital.

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