J.M. Smucker Forms New Business Area Following Acquisition of Hostess Brands

Strategic businesses will be overseen by board-elected general managers, all reporting to Chief Operating Officer John Brase.
Danielle Romano
Managing Editor
The J.M. Smucker Co.

ORRVILLE, Ohio — The J.M. Smucker Co. is officially the new parent company of the maker of Twinkies.

The Orrville-based snack maker acquired Hostess Brands Inc. in a deal that expands J.M. Smucker's offering of brands in growing categories and accelerates its focus on convenient consumer occasions. The deal was announced on Sept. 11.

As part of the transaction, J.M. Smucker will acquire Lenexa, Kan.-based Hostess Brands' sweet baked goods brands — including Hostess, Donettes, Twinkies, CupCakes, DingDongs, Zingers, CoffeeCakes, HoHos, Mini Muffins and Fruit Pies — and the Voortman cookie brand, in addition to manufacturing facilities in Emporia, Kan.; Burlington, Ontario; Chicago; Columbus, Ga.; Indianapolis; and Arkadelphia, Ark., which is currently under construction, and a distribution facility in Edgerton, Kan.

Approximately 3,000 employees will join the company in conjunction with the acquisition.

"We are excited to formally welcome Hostess Brands and for the tremendous opportunity we have with the combined capabilities our businesses offer," said Mark Smucker, chair of the board, president and CEO. "Consumers' increasing reliance on snacking to fit lifestyle needs and convenience choices has expanded the occasions where the category can deliver, and the sweet baked goods category is one of the largest and fastest growing in the industry. With the Hostess acquisition, we have a strong position in this highly attractive segment with popular brands that consumers love.

[Read more: 2023 Category Captain for Packaged Sweet Snacks: Hostess Brands]

"In addition, the synergy of our businesses creates a compelling platform to drive sustainable growth. Hostess offers an expanded distribution model, including strength in the convenience store channel; a robust innovation engine; and extensive manufacturing capabilities," he continued. "This is complemented by the strong retailer relationships in the grocery and mass channels we have at Smucker; along with our advanced commercial organization, highlighted by our industry leading consumer insights and marketing; and our continuous productivity approach. The combination of these capabilities positions us to deliver on the aspirations we have for the business."

New Strategic Business Area

To support the expansion of its brands, J.M. Smucker updated a strategic business area structure that will advance its strategy that includes leadership changes. 

The new structure includes strategic businesses overseen by board-elected general managers, all reporting to John Brase, chief operating officer. They include:

  • Coffee, inclusive of the Folgers, Dunkin' and Café Bustelo brands, which will be managed by Rob Ferguson, senior vice president and general manager, Coffee and Procurement. In his new role, Ferguson will lead both the coffee business and the company's procurement management across all categories.
  • Frozen Handheld and Spreads (formerly titled Consumer Foods), inclusive of the Smucker's Uncrustables, Jif and Smucker's brands, which will continue to be managed by Rebecca Scheidler, senior vice president and general manager, Frozen Handheld and Spreads.
  • Pet, inclusive of the dog snacks and cat food businesses, anchored by the Milk-Bone and Meow Mix brands, which will be managed by Dan O'Leary, senior vice president and general manager, Sweet Baked Snacks and Pet.
  • Sweet Baked Snacks, inclusive of the Hostess and Voortman brands, which will also be managed by O'Leary.
  • Away From Home and International, inclusive of the company's Canadian business, which will continue to be managed by Tim Wayne, senior vice president, Away From Home and International.

"We are excited to share this updated strategic business area structure and the leaders who will drive the continued momentum of our leading brands in these growing categories," said Smucker. "With this newly created structure, we are better positioned to take advantage of synergies, which will allow us to leverage the best-in-class expertise we have in our organization around innovation, marketing, commercial activation and supply chain management."

O'Leary assumes the role of senior vice president and general manager, Sweet Baked Snacks and Pet, following his time serving as chief growth officer of Hostess Brands Inc., where he oversaw the full family of brands and drove profitable growth in the competitive snacking market. O'Leary brings more than 20 years of experience across marketing, brand building, innovation, merger-and-acquisition and growth strategy. Before joining Hostess in 2021, O'Leary led Tyson Foods' retail prepared foods group as senior vice president and general manager, and held leadership roles at Kraft Foods and Mizkan America.

[Read more of CSNews' Candy & Snacks coverage here]

Ferguson takes on the role of senior vice president and general manager, Coffee and Procurement, following his leadership of the company's pet business since 2020. His leadership has been instrumental in the successful reshape of the pet food and pet snacks business, including continued growth for the leading dog snacks brand in the market, Milk-Bone, and establishing a leadership position with its Meow Mix cat food brand, J.M. Smucker Co. said. 

Ferguson joined the company in 2015 via its acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands, where he held leadership roles in strategy, operations, supply chain and procurement, prior to his election as Smucker senior vice president, Supply Chain.

Integrated Portfolio Management

Following the successful implementation of the Transformation Office over the past year, the company has established an integrated portfolio management organization, inclusive of transformation initiatives.

With this decision, the company will align strategy, finance, transformation and information services under the leadership of Tucker Marshall, chief financial officer. This updated alignment will enable the close connection between J.M. Smucker's margin-management objectives and its multiple planning processes with short- and long-term horizons, the company stated. 

Reporting to Marshall is Bryan Hutson, senior vice president, Information Services, Transformation and Portfolio Operations. Hutson oversees the company's technology strategy for all aspects of the organization and plays a key role in significant portfolio management initiatives. His experience includes more than 20 years of leadership roles in information services, corporate development and supply chain. 

Hutson's new role will build upon his current responsibilities to include advancing the company's margin enhancement efforts and enterprise-wide continuous improvement strategies to ensure a pipeline of productivity initiatives and profit growth opportunities.

"We will continue to advance the great work that has been done to establish our transformation vision and structure through this evolved organization, which will enable greater cohesion among leadership across the business," said Marshall. "In this next phase of our journey, we will further integrate transformation with the broader strategy of the company while continuing to embed the vision across all planning processes. I look forward to supporting our continued progress, which will help us deliver on our commitment to continuous improvement and creating greater organizational flexibility and agility."

In other leadership changes, three executives will transition from the company:

  • Senior Vice President and General Manager, Coffee Joe Stanziano, effective Dec. 1.
  • Senior Vice President, Procurement and Commodities Gagnesh Gupta, effective Dec. 29. 
  • Chief Transformation Officer Amy Held, effective Feb. 2, 2024.

The J.M. Smucker Co. is the owner of all trademarks referenced herein, except for Dunkin', which is a trademark of DD IP Holder LLC. The Dunkin' brand is licensed to The J.M. Smucker Co. for packaged coffee products sold in retail channels, such as grocery stores, mass merchandisers, club stores, e-commerce and drug stores, as well as in certain away from home channels. 

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