Mars, the intensely non-public chocolate and pet-care group, has revealed annual gross sales of virtually $45bn – larger than Coca-Cola’s – as chief government Grant Reid stepped down.
Reid, who took Mars into veterinary providers and more healthy snacks, is leaving after eight years of what the family-owned US firm referred to as “unprecedented” progress.
Poul Weihrauch, who presently runs Mars Petcare, will take over as CEO on the finish of September, the corporate introduced on Wednesday, with Reid retiring on the finish of the yr.
The Virginia-based group marked the succession with a partial glimpse into its monetary metrics, saying its annual gross sales had grown greater than 50 per cent in Reid’s tenure, from greater than $28bn to nearly $45bn.
That would put Mars’ income forward of Coca-Cola and would far outstrip the income progress reported by different world shopper items corporations corresponding to Nestlé, Unilever or Mondelez over the identical interval.
Some teams have responded to the problem of delivering constant natural gross sales progress by shedding elements of their portfolios, corresponding to Kraft Heinz’s sale of its Planters peanuts model, or by breaking apart, as Kellogg proposed this week.
Mars additionally hinted on the sooner progress in petcare that had led it at hand the reins to that division’s head at a time when a shift to more healthy snacking has led to lacklustre progress in world confectionery gross sales.
Weihrauch, initially from Denmark, had doubled petcare gross sales since being put accountable for the division behind Iams and Whiskas in 2014, the group mentioned, establishing it because the trade’s largest firm and lifting the share of revenues coming from providers from 5 per cent to twenty per cent.
Some of that progress has come from acquisitions. Mars has owned pet meals manufacturers since 1935, however Reid and Weihrauch oversaw a significant enlargement of its veterinary enterprise, together with 2017’s $9.1bn buy of VCA, a gaggle of 800 petcare hospitals, and pushed the enterprise into Europe. Half of the group’s 140,000 associates, or staff, now work for the veterinary enterprise.
Reid’s impending retirement elicited very uncommon public feedback from two remaining members of the Mars household’s third era, who described the Scottish-born outgoing CEO as a good friend who had made needed modifications to the enterprise.
“His values and character align so well with the family, and he has a wonderful sense of humour that helped carry us through some difficult challenges,” mentioned Jacqueline Mars, 82. John Mars, 86, hailed his “healthy dissatisfaction for the status quo”.
Forbes places the Mars household’s wealth at $94bn, estimating that it’s America’s third-wealthiest dynasty after the Waltons and the Kochs.
Despite an extended historical past of secrecy, Mars has sought to be extra communicative below fourth-generation members of the family together with Victoria Mars and Stephen Badger.
As CEO, Reid seemed to galvanise different enterprise leaders to sort out the consequences of local weather change. Mars pledged final yr to attain internet zero emissions by 2050.
His tenure additionally included the US group shedding executives to JAB Holding, the Luxembourg-based non-public funding group, inflicting tensions that briefly spilled into the open in 2020 when Mars sued JAB and one of many executives over an alleged theft of petcare commerce secrets and techniques. JAB denied the claims and the case was ultimately referred to arbitration.