PARSIPPANY, NJ — B&G Foods, Inc. announced Monday that Kenneth Romanzi, president and chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors, and the company mutually agreed that Romanzi would step aside as president, CEO and a director effective Nov. 15, in order for Romanzi to pursue personal interests. To ensure an orderly transition, the board of directors has appointed David Wenner, a current member of the board of directors and former president and CEO of B&G Foods from 1993 through 2014, as interim president and CEO.
The company will initiate a search for a new president and CEO, and the board of directors has appointed a special committee to direct the search and transition process. The committee is chaired by Dennis Mullen, chairman of the nominating and governance committee, and also includes: DeAnn Brunts, Charles Marcy and Robert Mills.
Romanzi stated, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at B&G Foods and am very proud of all of our accomplishments. The business is in excellent shape and I am confident the team will continue to deliver terrific results. I wish the entire B&G Foods family all the best for a bright future.”
Stephen Sherrill, chairman of the board at B&G Foods, said, “On behalf of our entire company, I want to thank Ken for his contributions to B&G Foods’ success over the past three years as our chief operating officer and then CEO and for navigating B&G Foods through these unprecedented times and helping keep our dedicated employees safe and healthy. I wish Ken continued success in his future endeavors.”
Sherrill continued, “Under Ken’s leadership, B&G Foods’ financial performance has been very strong during the ongoing pandemic, as our portfolio of leading brands has benefited from increased eating at home, resulting in strong year-over-year growth. The company is in excellent operational and financial condition as evidenced by the quarterly and year-to-date financial results we reported earlier this month. Furthermore, after successfully acquiring and integrating the Clabber Girl business, B&G Foods is continuing on the acquisition path with its pending purchase of Crisco. All in all, we believe this is a good time to make a leadership transition and we are very fortunate that our former long-time CEO Dave Wenner, who has continued to serve on our board of directors, is now available and has agreed to help lead our company while we search for our next CEO. Under Dave’s leadership, B&G Foods successfully completed and integrated sixteen acquisitions and evolved from a small, regional pickle company to a leading public food company with a diverse portfolio of iconic brands, which resulted in tremendous value creation for B&G Foods’ stockholders in the form of dividends and stock price appreciation. Through continued service on our board of directors since his retirement, Dave is very much up to speed on all aspects of our company’s operations and is deeply familiar with our strategy, our executive team and our brands. Together with the very strong management team that Ken has organized and led, Dave is very well prepared to steer the ship during this transition period.”
Wenner said, “I am very excited for the opportunity to once again lead our company, work with our talented executive leadership team, and reinforce the principles and strategies that have helped create tremendous value for all of our stakeholders over the years. We will continue to focus on growth, including organic growth and growth through acquisitions, operational improvements and cost reduction efforts.”
B&G Foods on Monday also reaffirmed the full year fiscal 2020 financial guidance that was provided by the Company in its earnings release on November 5, 2020.
Monday's announcement is not expected to impact the timing of the completion of the pending Crisco acquisition. B&G Foods expects the acquisition to close during the fourth quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals.
Wenner has been a member of B&G Foods’ board of directors since 1997. He served as the company’s president and CEO from March 1993 through December 2014. Wenner joined B&G Foods in 1989 as assistant to the president and was directly responsible for distribution and Bloch & Guggenheimer operations. In 1991, he was promoted to vice president and assumed responsibility for all company manufacturing operations. Prior to joining B&G Foods, Wenner spent 13 years at Johnson & Johnson in supervision and management positions, responsible for manufacturing, maintenance and purchasing. Wenner has been active in industry trade groups and has served on the Chairman’s Advisory Council of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (now known as the Consumer Brands Association).
Having previously served as the president and CEO of B&G Foods for 22 years, Wenner brings to B&G Foods’ executive leadership team and the board an extraordinary understanding of the company’s business, history and organization. Wenner’s training as an engineer at the U.S. Naval Academy and prior experience in senior leadership positions overseeing manufacturing, maintenance and purchasing operations at B&G Foods and Johnson & Johnson, together with his many years of day-to-day leadership and intimate knowledge of B&G Foods’ business and operations, provide the company’s executive leadership team and the board with invaluable insight into the operations of the company. Wenner also provides strong insight and guidance regarding potential acquisitions and acquisition financing as under his leadership as President and CEO, B&G Foods successfully acquired and integrated into the company’s operations dozens of brands.