McLean, Virginia-based Mars Inc. recently hired Russell Stokes to join its corporate team in its enterprise-wide transformation agenda. Stokes was appointed to the newly created job of chief strategy officer.
“I’m delighted to welcome Russell to Mars as our chief strategy officer,” said Mars CFO Claus Aagaard. “In today’s dynamic business landscape, change and uncertainty is the new norm and companies have to be relevant, consumer-focused and agile. Russell will bring a depth of knowledge and experience to define and enable our growth plans in the current environment, with a view for the long-term, while helping us continue to create products and services that our customers and consumers love.”
In this position, Stokes will be responsible for overseeing Mars’ enterprise strategy, portfolio strategy and transformation agenda. In a time when disruption is to be expected, Stokes will play a pivotal role in ensuring that Mars continues innovating and transforming its business in the face of new and fast-paced competition, changing consumer trends and retail environment. He will be based in McLean, reporting to Aagaard.
“Mars is a unique company with a rich family history and values-driven legacy. Not only has their culture of growth made them successful—preserving and growing iconic brands like M&M’s, Extra, Pedigree and Uncle Ben’s, while also building the world’s biggest veterinary health group—they have kept their principles at the core of their decision-making,” Stokes said. “I’m thrilled to join the business at a time when it continues to reinvent itself.”
Stokes joins Mars from Whirlpool Corp., where he was the head of strategy and mergers and acquisitions, and a member of Whirlpool’s executive committee. Prior to his three years with Whirlpool, he was a partner and managing director with the Boston Consulting Group (BCG)—working in New York and in Mumbai, India. During his time with BCG, he worked extensively with Mars on a range of topics.
Stokes is a graduate of Harvard Business School and received his undergraduate degree from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London, UK, where he studied chemical engineering and French.