Mars CEO Grant F. Reid has decided to retire from Mars after more than eight years in the role and 34 years in the business. Poul Weihrauch, currently Global President at Mars Petcare, will succeed as CEO from the end of September, announced the company.
According to Mars, under Reid’s leadership, the company has seen unprecedented growth and transformation combined with a focus on sustainability and purpose and significant expansion into newer areas, including veterinary health services.
Reid – who will remain at Mars until the end of the year – informed the Board of his intentions to retire from the company 18 months ago and has been closely involved in helping ensure a best-in-class succession. He has served in the role since 2014.
Mars Board Chair, Frank Mars, paid tribute to Reid’s “extraordinary legacy” – highlighting his countless achievements – fusing performance with purpose, delivering sustainable growth, ramping up Mars digital capabilities, building its iconic brands, and expanding into newer territories like veterinary health, pet services and healthy snacking. As a result, Mars said, sales had grown by over 50% to nearly $45B under Reid’s tenure, and the number of Associates had increased from 60,000 to more than 140,000.
“While he is too modest to admit it, our significant transformation and record growth as a business would not have happened without Grant’s leadership. He has visibly lived our principles and embedded purpose at the heart of our business strategy. The Mars Family is tremendously grateful for his dedication and service. We will greatly miss his principled leadership, his highly collaborative and engaging style, and – not least – his dry Scottish sense of humor,” Frank Mars added.
Meanwhile, Reid said: “It has been a privilege to lead the Mars team and work closely with the Mars Family. We have built on our core strengths and moved into new areas, setting the business up for a brilliant, sustainable future. But the biggest difference we make starts with our 140,000 Associates, the hundreds of communities we operate in, and the billions of consumers we serve. In the face of challenges such as a global pandemic, I’m proud that we have never lost sight of our strategic path or our ambition to help create the world we want tomorrow – and to drive both purpose and performance. Whether that be challenging ourselves to deliver a truly net-zero supply chain, ensuring our most impactful raw materials like palm are deforestation-free or innovating with packaging solutions to help ensure our products do not turn up as waste.”
About his successor, Reid added: “Having worked closely with Poul for many years, I consider him and his family to be close friends. I am very excited about the future of the business under his leadership and congratulate him on his appointment as CEO of this incredible company.”
Reid and Weihrauch have been working together closely for several months to ensure a smooth and orderly succession that maintains the company’s considerable business momentum. Reid will continue to represent Mars until the end of 2022, including at critical events such as UNGA/Climate Week, COP27, and more.
Mars Next Chapter
Poul Weihrauch will succeed Reid from the end of September. Having led the Mars Food business, he became President of Global Petcare in 2014 and, during that time, has overseen significant growth and diversification into veterinary health, diagnostics, data, and platforms, doubling the size of the business. Weihrauch has also driven considerable focus and investment into the Petcare sustainability agenda. He has worked in many parts of the company since joining in 2000 as a European brand leader for Snickers.
“He is known for his inspirational and inclusive leadership style, growing businesses and renovating brands, and deep commitment to Associate engagement and development. Following Grant’s decision, the Board and I are grateful to appoint such a strong Mars leader and are confident that Poul will both protect our legacy while leading us into what promises to be a bright and exciting future,” Frank Mars said.
For his part, Weihrauch said: “I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve the organization and our 140,000 Mars Associates. This incredible company has consistently demonstrated that doing good is good business. That relationship will ensure we keep delivering sustainable growth and performance. We live in challenging times, but I’m an optimist, and I believe in the power of business to have a positive impact and, in particular, the freedom we have at Mars to do the right thing for our Associates and the world we operate in.”
As a result of Weihrauch’s appointment, Mars also announced a series of subsequent senior appointments. Loic Moutault, President at Royal Canin, is to become Mars Global Petcare President, and Cecile Coutens will take over as Global Royal Canin President.
With almost $45 billion in annual sales, Mars produces some of the world’s best-known brands, including Ben’s Original, CESAR, Cocoavia, DOVE, EXTRA, KIND, M&M’s, SNICKERS, PEDIGREE, ROYAL CANIN, and WHISKAS.