MARION, Ohio — Wyandot Snacks (“Wyandot” or “the Company”), a privately held, better for you national snack manufacturer, has appointed three leading snack industry experts, James Kairos, Blake Thompson, and Stephen Van Tassel, as new independent directors. The Company also honored outgoing directors, former CEO Nick Chilton, former President Rex Parrott, and Frank Elsener, for their years of service by electing them as directors emeritus.
“The rapid expansion of better for you snacking, particularly with health-conscious Millennials, creates outsized opportunities for, and demands on, contract manufacturers such as Wyandot,” said Company President and CEO Rob Sarlls. “Each new director offers a compelling record of driving, developing and executing a vision, managing change, building strong corporate cultures, and growing enterprise value in highly competitive food market environments. We look forward to their contributing to Wyandot’s continued success and growing leadership in the snack space.”
Board Chairman and third generation family leader Douglas W. Brown affirmed the Company’s commitments to its key constituencies.
“We will continue to meet the ever increasing demands of our customers, as well as the needs of increasingly discerning snack consumers, by investing in both the Company’s capabilities and its supportive teammate culture,” said Brown. “Adding three highly qualified industry experts to our Board provides Rob and the leadership team with important industry perspective and relationships that will help create additional value for us and our customers in the better for you snack space.”
About James Kairos
James has more than 20 years’ experience in the beverage and better for you snack market, including launching and developing line extensions of organic and natural products for high-growth companies as Odwalla juice, Bare Snacks, and Sundia True Fruit Snacks. Most recently he co-founded and serves as Executive Vice President of Jyve Corporation, the “Uber” model of in-store labor, servicing brands, distributors, and retailers. James has a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. With his manufacturing and supply chain expertise he has implemented state-of-the art ERP and supply chain management tools, as well as globally managed manufacturing locations and developed networks of supply chains.
About Blake Thompson
Blake is a former customer of Wyandot who brings over 30 years of experience in the snack industry and a drive for continuous improvement to the Company. His experience includes business turnaround through change and culture management, team engagement, and supply chain and manufacturing efficiency, including manufacturing platform and network redesigns. Most recently Blake was the Chief Operating Office of Swisher Hygiene, a service company which provided sanitation services to the food industry, but the bulk of his experience is in the snack space with Frito Lay, Tasty Baking and as Senior Vice President, Supply Chain, for Snyder’s Lance. He has a Bachelor’s of General Studies from the University of Kansas.
About Stephen Van Tassel
Steve brings Wyandot decades of domestic and international food and snack experience with General Mills, ConAgra, Kraft and Nabisco. Most recently, he was CEO of Weetabix, North America, a leading natural and organic cereal and snack food business that included Barbara’s Bakery. Prior to Weetabix Steve was President of Post Foods. He graduated with a BA in Economics from Bowdoin College and a MBA from Amos Tuck School, Dartmouth. He is a CEO with a consistent track record of delivering strong enterprise value improvement across varied business environments – mid-cap private equity, large domestic companies, and international businesses. He has also demonstrated leadership and success in turnaround situations. He is experienced in building and executing strategic plans to drive revenue growth and lower costs, while building more engaged employees.
About Wyandot Snacks
Wyandot Snacks is a privately held, national snack manufacturer supporting the continued evolution in better for you plant-based snacking. Our products range from well-known branded baby snacks to the fastest growing chickpea snack in the industry’s fastest growing segment. Wyandot fully supports the continued growth and commercial success of our customers, and for 82 years we have treated their brands as our own. Wyandot is based in Marion, Ohio – within one day’s drive of 60 percent of America’s snack consumers. We provide turnkey support to brands, from conception to development all the way to the shelf or the doorstep. Our success is made possible through strong manufacturing support and the expert guidance of our seven food scientists and two trained chefs.
Visit our website for more information: http://www.wyandotsnacks.com/