Paul S. Michaels, President of Mars, Incorporated since 2004, recently informed the Mars Board of Directors of his plan to retire on December 31, 2014. Grant F. Reid, current Global President of Mars Chocolate, has been named by the Mars Board of Directors to take over the office of the President on January 2, 2015.
“In his almost 11 years at the helm of Mars, Incorporated, Paul has overseen a period of outstanding business performance and tremendous achievement. He also built up the talent of the company while strengthening the visible presence of our Five Principles — Quality, Efficiency, Responsibility, Mutuality and Freedom — in the way we operate,” said Victoria B. Mars, Chairman of the Mars Board of Directors. “It’s because of his focus on nurturing leaders who are both talented and principled, that we have such a strong internal successor in the business. We are proud and excited that Grant, a 26-year veteran of the business, and a member of the Mars Leadership Team since 2007, will be our next President.”
As Global President of Mars Chocolate, one of Mars’ biggest business segments, Grant leads more than 17,000 associates. The Chocolate portfolio has some of the world’s best-loved consumer brands including M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, DOVE®, GALAXY®, and TWIX®. In the last five years, Grant has successfully led the Chocolate business to deliver consistent growth in mature and emerging markets, and built an excellent and diverse team of leaders. In addition, he has been a champion of industry efforts to collaborate on the issue of cocoa sustainability. In particular, he has grown the Mars’ Sustainable Cocoa Initiative, which puts ‘farmers first’ in its efforts to increase sustainable farming practices and crop productivity – in turn helping farmers improve their wages and their ability to give their families a chance for better opportunities for education and a more prosperous future.
Reid will step into a Co-Office of the President role effective July 2. He’ll then have the time to partner with Michaels on transition plans before taking on the role President of Mars formally in January 2015.
“I’m grateful to the Board of Directors for giving me this opportunity and proud to have been chosen as the next President of Mars, Incorporated. Mars has always encouraged and provided opportunity for growth and development of associates, and I am certainly living proof of that fact,” said Grant. “I believe in the Mars culture, I love the Mars brands and I know that we have the best associates in the world. We have a truly exciting future and I’m honored to lead the organization into that future.”
Grant’s diverse experience across the business gives him both historical perspective and a broad view of the way Mars operates. He has worked across multiple functions including sales, marketing, commercial, manufacturing and general management as well as several Mars business segments.
He has an Honors Degree in Management Economics, as well as a Certificate in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing.
The World Cocoa Foundation and Denmark’s Toms Foundation are joining forces to convene later this year a cross-section of representatives from the chocolate and cocoa industry, cocoa-producing countries, development agencies, donor groups, non-governmental organizations and cocoa certifying bodies. The gathering, to be held on October 15-16, 2014, in Copenhagen, will focus on improving efforts to boost incomes, production levels, quality of life and technology for the world’s five million-plus cocoa farmers.
Bill Guyton, President of the World Cocoa Foundation, said that the partnership with Toms Foundation is a natural choice for his organization. “Toms Foundation and WCF share a commitment to helping cocoa farmers improve their livelihoods. WCF’s membership of more than 110 companies from around the world possesses some of the world’s best expertise about sustainability in the cocoa sector. We look forward to learning more from them, and from our friends in Denmark, about practical steps that can be taken to advance the sustainability agenda,” he said.
Jesper Moeller, CEO of Toms Confectionery Group, said “At Toms we are proud to enter this partnership with the World Cocoa Foundation. We look forward to welcoming the participants to Copenhagen in October and value the opportunity to share our experiences from Ghana in areas such as traceable cocoa, farmer training and primary school programs.”
The meeting, which is expected to attract 200 attendees, will include sessions on new strategies for providing improved planting materials to cocoa farmers; plans for making fertilizers and other essential inputs more readily available to farmers; updates on efforts to establish widely agreed upon standards for quality and sustainability; defining and measuring success in programs that support cocoa farmers; the importance of educational, gender equality and child labor reduction programming in cocoa-growing communities; and recent innovations in technology and program implementation that can hasten improvements in the lives of cocoa farmers.
About Toms Foundation
The Toms Group Foundation was established December 12, 1974 and is the sole owner of Toms Confectionary Group, a midsized producer of chocolate and candy with production facilities in Denmark, Germany, Sweden and Poland.
Having already taken Manhattan, the Nocciolata squirrel has now moved on to conquer taste buds in the editorial offices of Time magazine. Time’s reviewers found Nocciolata superior to alternatives from Barefoot and Chocolate, Natural ChocoDream and Hershey’s, among others. Least popular among the spreads reviewed by the panel: Nutilight, whose taste was described as, “extremely, dreadfully, wildly unfortunate.” Nocciolata, by contrast, was described as “a perfect blend of chocolatey and nutty flavors.” Read all about it here.