Universal Forest Products Inc. (UFPI) announced today that chief executive officer Michael G. Glenn resigned "for health reasons and to make way for new leadership." Glenn will remain at the job while the board of directors evaluates candidates to take his place, UFPI said.

The announcement comes two months after UFPI reported it slipped into a net loss of $3.7 million in the first quarter from net earnings of $1 million a year before on a 1.5% drop in sales to $387.2 million. For all 2010, earnings shrank 28% to $1.74 million even though sales increased 11.7% to $1.9 billion. (Story)

"I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish in the toughest years in our 56-year history," Glenn said in a statement. "I'm proud we were able to generate cash flow, pay off more than $320 million of debt, and remain profitable at a time when others in our industry were struggling to survive. I'm proud of our continuous improvement efforts that have made our operations best in class. I'm proud of the team we've built and the successes we've had despite unprecedented challenge, and I'm confident in leaving the work in their hands. They're the best team in the business.

"But closing or consolidating nearly 30 operations and cutting thousands of employees as we implemented strategies to carry us into the future have taken a toll," added Glenn, a 37-year veteran at the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company who became CEO in 2006. "And for the sake of my family and of my health, I decided it was time to hand over the reins to new leadership, who will build on Universal's strengths and prepare for future opportunity."

UFPI runs a variety of wood-related operations that serve pro dealers, do-it-yourself retailers, and makers of single-family, multi-family, and and manufactured homes. It also produces packaging, crating, and concrete forms.

"The Board thanks Mike for his many contributions to Universal. He created success in plants, regions and divisions in his long career at Universal," UFPI board chairman William G. Currie said. "His focus on operations during challenging economic times helped us enhance efficiencies when that was a critical strategy for survival and success. At the same time, we look forward to new leadership to help us successfully negotiate the ongoing challenges in the economy and our markets."