Ric Phillips

Ric Phillips, President & CEO, Elkay Manufacturing Company
ROI Podcast Episode 197

In CEO Podcast Series by Brandt A. HandleyLeave a Comment

Ric Phillips is a Senior Executive with deep experience developing strategy, driving execution, negotiating mergers and positively impacting organizational culture. He brings a track record of strong leadership and positive impact across businesses in sectors ranging from industrial to distribution, e-commerce & digital, consumer and healthcare.

Ric currently is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Elkay Manufacturing Company, a large privately held organization located in the Chicago area. Elkay is a leading manufacturer of world-class stainless steel and quartz sinks, in addition to drinking fountains, Smartwell Water Delivery Systems, and the award-winning ezH20 bottle-filling stations. Elkay also is a global designer and producer of commercial kitchen equipment and interiors for the foodservice, hospitality, education, and retail market segments, including Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin Brands. Ric is building a long-term corporate strategy and prioritizing focus and investment. He is leading the senior management team in efforts to grow the business by commercializing innovations, expanding global presence, executing on acquisition opportunities, and maximizing shareholder return through enhancements in revenues, profitability, and growth.

Ric previously was President & Chief Executive Officer of Essendant, Inc. (formerly United Stationers, Inc.), a Fortune 500 wholesale distributor of workplace items. As CEO, Ric rebuilt the company’s overall strategy and oversaw the largest restructuring in its history. He delivered performance at or above Wall Street guidance in each quarter and share price increased by more than 50% during his tenure. He planned, negotiated, and announced a major industry-changing merger with a $2 billion competitor. He then navigated the company through an acquisition attempt that eventually led to the successful acquisition of the company, which was completed in January 2019.

Prior to his role as CEO at Essendant, Ric was President of ORS Nasco & Group President of Industrial Portfolio, with responsibility for three Essendant industrial business units totaling about $1 billion in revenue – ORS Nasco (industrial distribution), Medco (automotive aftermarket distribution) and CPO Commerce (B2C e-commerce player in power tools). He originally was recruited to Essendant as President of Online and New Channels.

Before joining Essendant, Ric was with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, for 14 years from 1998 – 2013, and was elected Partner in 2005. He led more than 60 engagements across the globe with healthcare and/or consumer businesses ranging from $1 billion to $100 billion. 

Ric began his career with Baxter Healthcare Corporation in 1992 as part of a finance rotational program and served in roles of increasing responsibility, including serving as National Accounts Project Manager, Renal Division. 

His extensive Board experience includes serving on the Follett Board of Directors, the Essendant Board of Directors (prior), Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors and Indiana University Business School Dean’s Council.  He is a Member of the Economic Club of Chicago. 

Ric earned a Master of Management (with distinction) from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Finance (with distinction) from Indiana University.


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