Latest food firm to enter pet food market

New roles for Smucker’s brass following acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands

By Heidi Parsons

- Last updated on GMT

These fruit spreads embody what the JM Smucker Co. has been known for, but that may change with the firm's entry into the pet food market.
These fruit spreads embody what the JM Smucker Co. has been known for, but that may change with the firm's entry into the pet food market.

Related tags Management occupations

Following its recently announced plans to acquire Big Heart Pet Brands, the J.M. Smucker Company announced five executive promotions it said are “designed to position the Company for continued growth and success.”

Vincent C. Byrd will take on the newly created position of vice chairman. Currently serving as president and chief operating officer, Byrd has been with Smucker’s for 38 years.

After the acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands is finalized, current Big Heart CEO David West will become president, Big Heart Pet Food and Snacks. West will cooperate with Byrd to “lead the integration and synergy efforts of the Big Heart Pet Brands transaction,”​ Smucker’s officials said.

Focus on people

Byrd and West_JM-Smucker-Co
Vincent Byrd (left) and David West

Mark T. Smucker will assume the role of president, Consumer and Natural Foods. Previously serving as president of Smucker’s U.S. Retail Coffee business, Smucker has been with the company for 17 years.

Taking the post of president, Coffee and Foodservice is Steven Oakland. A 32-year Smucker’s veteran, Oakland previously served as president of the International, Foodservice, and Natural Foods businesses.

Barry C. Dunaway has been named president of the International business unit and chief administrative officer of the company. Dunaway has been with Smucker’s for 28 years, most recently serving as Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer.

The promotions will take effect on April 1, 2015. They were approved by the full Board of Directors.

Company officials said Byrd, West, Smucker, Oakland and Dunaway, along with Mark R. Belgya, senior VP and chief financial officer, will report to CEO Richard Smucker.

Pet fancy

With its planned acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands, Smucker’s joins the ranks of human food manufacturers that have identified growth opportunities in the pet food market, including Nestlé, Mars, and Cargill.

Big Heart Pet Brands' pet food portfolio

The company announced February 3 that it had “entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Big Heart Pet Brands in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $5.8 bn, which includes approximately $2.6 bn of net debt.”

CEO Richard Smucker said, "Big Heart Pet Brands is an excellent strategic fit for our company and the acquisition provides many compelling benefits in both the short- and long-term. This combination further advances our strategy of owning leading food brands in attractive center-of-the-store categories.”

“The pet food business will become a third platform for growth for our company, along with our existing food and beverage businesses,” ​he added. “This acquisition adds to the company's portfolio of leading brands and increases our consumer presence, while enabling us to capitalize on the growth of the pet food and snacks category.”

Related topics Processing & Packaging

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