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Turnover Continues at 7th Gen: Maniscalco to Step Down

Chuck Maniscalco, Seventh Generation's CEO, will leave the company.

Maniscalco, you may recall, is the former PepsiCo executive who was hired in June 2009 to take over for Jeffrey Hollender, the company's co-founder and longtime CEO. (Maniscalco and Hollender pictured at left)

Last October, Hollender was ousted from the company by its board, whose chairman is his former high school chum Peter Graham.

It's an unfortunate sequence of events, and it only goes to show the difficulty of making transitions from entrepreneurial leaders who build companies to executives with the skills to leader bigger organizations.

The leadership gap at 7G comes at a challenging moment for the company. The so-called green cleaning category is getting crowded, with the rise of the Method brand, the commercial success of GreenWorks from Clorox and continuing environmental leadership from S.C. Johnson. Seventh Generation, to its everlasting credit, invented the category and under Jeffrey's leadership and has consistently helped advance the practice of corporate responsibility.

Chrystie Heimert, company spokeswoman, confirmed that Chuck would not be staying on in an email to me this morning:

"As shared in Peter Graham's October 26th letter to Shareholders, Seventh Generation's Board of Directors had expressed their commitment to having the best leadership for the company and to that end, had immediately commenced a CEO search, which continues today. At that time, Chuck Maniscalco had indicated that he would let the Board know if he wished to be included as a candidate for the position. As you've learned, Chuck has decided not to pursue that opportunity."

It's more complicated than that: Chuck and Jeffrey had butted heads, Chuck resigned, Jeffrey was forced out, Chuck agreed to stay on as an interim CEO, and now most people involved think hiring Chuck was a mistake. The full story remains very much unclear because nobody has been talking. (See Seventh Generation sweeps out its founder and Seventh Generation: not coming clean.)

UPDATE***This just in from Seventh Generation:

BURLINGTON, VT — (MARKET WIRE) — 02/09/2011 -- Seventh Generation today announced that its Board of Directors has named John Replogle to serve as the company's Chief Executive Officer and President.

Replogle, 45, has served since January 2006 as President and Chief Executive Officer of Burt's Bees, the leading Earth-friendly, natural personal care products company. Replogle previously spent three years at Unilever as General Manager, Skin Care, North America. Prior to joining Unilever, Replogle served eight years with Diageo as President of Guinness Bass Import Company, Managing Director of Guinness Great Britain and had several roles in Marketing, Sales and Strategy with Diageo. Replogle started his career as a Case Leader with the Boston Consulting Group.

Image courtesy of Seventh Generation.

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