Bob Evans Farms, Inc. today announced Steve Davis, by mutual agreement with the Bob Evans Board of Directors, has stepped down as chief executive officer and a director of the company.
While the official change will take place immediately, Davis will remain with the company through the end of the year to assist with the transition process.
The company also announced that its Board has established an interim office of the chief executive to provide ongoing leadership and oversight of the day-to-day operations of the company while a search is conducted for a new CEO.
The office of the CEO is to be filled by Mark Hood, chief financial officer, and Mike Townsley, president of the Bob Evans Foods business unit. Both will remain in their current positions while carrying out their new responsibilities.
To provide ongoing support for the office of the CEO, the Board has also formed a transition committee, consisting of independent directors Mary Kay Haben, Doug Benham, and Larry McWilliams, with Haben serving as the chair of the committee. These leadership changes are effective immediately.
Bob Evans also announced that its Board has formed a CEO Search committee to supervise the selection and evaluation by the Board of candidates for election as new CEO. The committee consists of independent directors Mary Kay Haben, Doug Benham, David Head, Kathy Lane, and Paul Williams, who will serve as chair. The committee will retain an executive search firm to assist it in conducting the search.
"The independent directors unanimously concluded that as the company strives to improve performance, it would benefit from new leadership and enhanced execution," says Haben, non-executive chair of the Bob Evans Board.
"We thank Steve for his tireless efforts, dedication and many significant achievements as CEO of Bob Evans for over eight years, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors," Haben adds. "We have a strong, dedicated organization, and are confident in Mike and Mark's ability to lead the company as we conduct a search for a new CEO. We look forward to a smooth transition."
"Over the last eight years, we have transformed Bob Evans Restaurants and the Bob Evans Foods business unit, created a great leadership team, and brought our business and community involvement to the next level," Davis says. "I am proud of the legacy we have built and am confident the team will continue to build on our sales and profit growth."
Mark Hood was named chief financial officer of Bob Evans Farms, Inc. in June 2014. Prior to joining Bob Evans, he served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of the Brown Shoe company, a $2.6 billion operator of retail shoe stores and marketer of footwear, from 2006 to 2012.
Previously, he served as senior vice president and chief financial officer with Panera Bread company, a leader in the quick-casual restaurant business, from 2003 to 2006, after joining that company in 2002. His prior experience includes two decades of service with May Department Stores company, Inc., Saks Holdings, Inc., and U.S. Loyalty Corporation, in various financial and administrative senior management roles.
A certified public accountant, he began his career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen LLP. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting and economics from Iowa State University.
Mike Townsley was named president of the Bob Evans Foods business unit in June 2008. He joined Bob Evans Farms Inc. in 2003 as president and chief operating officer of Owens Foods, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bob Evans Farms, Inc.
Previously, he was senior vice president of sales and marketing for Premium Standard Farms in Kansas City. Premium Standard Farms was the largest fully integrated pork company in the country, with annual sales of $700 million. His prior experience includes three years at Smithfield Foods, and 11 years with IBP Inc. Townsley is a graduate of The Ohio State University, with a bachelor's degree in agriculture.