The J.M. Smucker Co.’s board of directors has implemented a leadership transition plan that it says “leverages the strong capabilities of the executive team, provides continuity in management and underscores the company’s commitment to focusing on long-term growth and industry leadership.”
Effective May 1, Mark T. Smucker, president of consumer and natural foods, member of the company’s board and fifth generation of the company’s founding family, will become president and and CEO of the Orrville, Ohio-based company, succeeding Richard K. Smucker, who has served as CEO since 2011 and co-CEO since 2001. Richard Smucker will become executive chairman of the board, succeeding current Chairman Timothy P. Smucker, who will transition to the role of chairman emeritus and will remain on the company’s board as a non-employee director.
Mark T. Smucker has been president of consumer and natural foods since April 2015. Prior to that time, he served as president of U.S. retail coffee since May 2011; president of special markets since August 2008; VP, international, since July 2007; VP, international and managing director, Canada, since May 2006; and VP and managing director, Canada, since June 2004. He previously served as a member of the board of directors of GS1 U.S., which is a member of GS1, a leading global standards organization. Mark Smucker is the son of Timothy P. Smucker and the nephew of Richard K. Smucker.
Gary A. Oatey, chairman of the board’s nominating and corporate governance committee, said, “As an organization highly focused on talent development and operating with a long-term perspective, Mark’s appointment reflects the board’s thoughtful approach to succession planning. Mark has consistently demonstrated that he is a visionary leader, an innovator and a steward of the company’s unique culture. Mark has held senior positions in nearly all major businesses within the organization and has played an important role with acquisitions and business integrations over the past 18 years. The board believes he is the right executive to lead Smucker in the years ahead. Additionally, we will continue to benefit from Richard’s strategic oversight and institutional knowledge as he assumes the role of executive chairman. The changes announced today reinforce our commitment to maintaining Smucker’s heritage and culture, which creates an environment where employees deliver exceptional results, benefiting all of our constituents.”
Added Richard Smucker, “We are pleased to announce this leadership transition at an exciting time for our company as we continue to deliver record results and our brands lead in key market categories. Today’s announcement exemplifies the company’s long-term succession planning and underscores the tradition of management continuity that has shaped Smucker into the company it is today. On behalf of the board of directors and the entire company, we are proud of Mark’s numerous contributions and his accomplishments as a leader within our organization and our industry. We are confident that under his leadership and, with the support of our dedicated employees, the company will continue to innovate, evolve and grow in the years to come. Leading this organization has been an immense pleasure. I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked alongside the best team in the industry and look forward to many more accomplishments in the future.”
Mark Smucker said, “Our company was built by thousands of families, just like ours, who have cared about its success for over 119 years. I am humbled to serve as a steward of this great company, leading and working with our talented team to build on our prominent market position and drive continued growth and shareholder value at Smucker. I am honored to succeed Richard as the next chief executive officer of the company. He has not only been a valuable mentor to me throughout my career, he has also led our company through a period of significant expansion and strategic transformation. As a result, today, Smucker and our family of iconic brands are stronger than ever. I look forward to working closely with Richard, the board of directors, our outstanding leadership team and our talented employees across the company, collectively serving all of our constituents—consumers, customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders.”
Timothy Smucker said, “At Smucker, we have a remarkable team that is committed to developing leaders from within. Our unique culture is critical to our long-term performance and preserving its strength remains a priority for our company. Mark’s appointment to president and chief executive officer and Richard’s transition to executive chairman further demonstrate our adherence to our core values. Personally, it has been a privilege to lead the board of directors and oversee strategic initiatives that have bolstered the performance of each of our businesses. I am extremely proud of our team’s achievements, dedication and support. Particularly, I want to thank Richard for his years of relentless execution and visionary leadership that have ultimately resulted in our transformational growth, strong market position and portfolio of iconic brands. I look forward to my ongoing involvement as chairman emeritus and wish Mark continued success in his new role as president and chief executive officer. I have every confidence that the business will thrive under his direction.”
Concurrent with these appointments, the Smucker’s board also has promoted Mark R. Belgya and Steven Oakland to the additional management roles of vice chair, effective May 1. Belgya, currently SVP and CFO, will be vice chair and CFO, and Oakland, currently president of coffee and foodservice, will be vice chair and president of U.S. food and beverage. In addition to his role as CFO, Belgya will be responsible for strategy, mergers and acquisitions, government and industry affairs and information services. Oakland will be responsible for the company’s U.S. food and beverage businesses, including U.S. retail coffee, U.S. retail consumer foods, foodservice, natural foods, U.S. retail sales and marketing services.
Richard Smucker said, “We are also pleased to name Mark Belgya and Steve Oakland as vice chairs of the company. Both have been valued team members for more than 30 years and their contributions to Smucker’s long-term success are innumerable. We are confident that their additional support and insights will be instrumental in achieving balanced growth for the company. We believe this leadership team has a deep breadth of experience and is the strongest in the industry.”