Hanover, Pennsylvania-based Utz Brands, a U.S. manufacturer of branded salty snacks, has made several changes to its executive management team. These changes reflect the company’s ongoing process of evaluating capabilities needed in its management team to better position Utz for its next phase of growth.
“As we evolve as a public company, we will continue to enhance Utz’s leadership team to accelerate our ability to grow and strengthen our organization,” said Dylan Lissette, CEO. “Our collective goal is to create long-term value for our stakeholders, and we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities for our power brands while also enhancing profitability through our value creation initiatives.”
Lissette said the personnel changes will “provide the company with the optimal organizational structure to execute against our strategy, and will best position Utz to deliver on its commitment to be the fastest-growing, pure-play branded salty snack company of scale in the U.S.”
The following changes have been made to the executive management team:
Cary Devore has been appointed EVP and chief operating officer, a new position within Utz, effective Oct. 4. He is currently the company’s CFO and will continue to report to Lissette.
As COO, Devore will work across the organization to help drive revenue growth, productivity and operational excellence. In addition, he will continue to drive the company’s strategic corporate initiatives including mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, as well as continue to provide oversight for the Project Management Office, which manages the implementation of value creation and acquisition integration initiatives.
He joined Utz in 2016 as a board member as part of a minority equity investment into Utz and transitioned to a full-time operational role in 2017. From 2016-19, Devore worked closely with Lissette on driving M&A (completing eight acquisitions together), value creation and team development, as Utz continued its national expansion and built out its capabilities. In 2019, Devore became EVP and CFO, where he focused on leading the company’s merger with Collier Creek Holdings and its successful transition to a public company.
Ajay Kataria has been appointed EVP and CFO, effective Oct. 4. Mr. Kataria is currently the company’s EVP of finance and accounting and will report to Lissette.
He is a global consumer goods finance leader with more than 20 years of experience. As CFO, he will assume responsibility of accounting, tax and investor relations, in addition to the business partner teams and Information Technology function that he oversees today.
Kataria joined Utz in 2017 and has been instrumental in building out the company’s FP&A, Commercial Finance and Supply Chain Finance teams, as well as overseeing the IT function and playing a leadership role in migrating to a new, fully integrated ERP infrastructure. In addition, he has been a key contributor to Utz’s M&A integrations and helped lead the accounting team through the company’s public listing process.
Kataria joined Utz from Armstrong Flooring Inc., where he served as VP of global finance and strategy, and led all aspects of business finance and strategy, including international finance teams across Asia and Australia. Prior to Armstrong, he was with Chobani as VP of finance, where he played a significant role as part of the team brought in by a private equity investor.
Prior to that, he spent a decade with PepsiCo Inc., where he held increasingly complex finance roles in large regional and national Direct Store Delivery operations within the U.S. beverage business.
Jim Sponaugle has been appointed EVP and chief people officer, effective Oct. 4. Sponaugle is currently the company’s SVP of human resources and personnel development and will continue to report to Lissette in his new role.
Sponaugle joined Utz in early 2020 and was instrumental in guiding the company through the COVID-19 pandemic, while he also helped to build the company’s corporate governance and compliance framework as a newly public company. He is passionate about positioning Utz for a stronger future focused on talent development as the company continues to grow.
Todd Staub, EVP and chief administrative officer on the executive management team, has announced his intention to retire, effective Jan. 3, 2022. Staub has a tremendous history at Utz, helping to grow the company over the past 25 years from $100 million in sales to over $1 billion today.
His contributions include controller, CFO and eventually the promotion to EVP and chief administrative officer in 2017.
Staub has given Utz significant notice of his future retirement to ensure a smooth transition, and the company thanks him for his contributions during his tenure at Utz.
Utz Brands snack foods can be found in leading retailers across the U.S. or available online at Utzsnacks.com. Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using @UtzSnacks.