People Moves: Hershey Adds New CEO, Sonoma Brands Adds to Sales Team

Carol Ortenberg

The Hershey Company announced today that current EVP and COO Michele Buck will succeed John Bilbrey as the next President and CEO of the company, effective March 1. During her 9 years at Hershey’s, Buck also served as SVP Marketing, SVP Global Chief Marketing Officer, SVP Global Chief Growth Officer, and SVP & President of North America.

Michele Buck

Michele Buck

Before joining the company, Buck spent time Mondelez, Nabisco and Pepsico’s Frito Lay.

Her background in snacking and meals has helped Hershey’s branch out from its traditional chocolate and candy products. A press release from the company noted that “[Buck] was the architect of the company’s strategy to expand into broader snacking categories and oversaw the acquisitions of KRAVE and barkThins brands.”

Buck will also become one of just 25 women to run a Fortune 500 company, noted Fortune.

Sonoma Brands, the incubator behind drinkable soup brand Zupa Noma and marshmallow snack Snackmallow, hired Robert Babich as Director of Sales for the East Coast. The addition sees Babich rejoin with Sonoma Brands founder, Jon Sebastiani, who he also worked with at Krave Jerky as Regional Sales Manager of the Northeast. Babich has over 20 years experience in the CPG industry and most recently was a Director of Sales for HannahMax Baking, the producer of Cookie Chips.

To further build their frozen food line, Hip Chick Farms has brought on Randy Bulow as VP of Sales and Marketing. Hip Chick produces a line of ethically raised, free range, organic and natural chicken products. Bulow has over 30 years in the CPG space and has worked with brands including Jamba Juice, Annie’s, The Hain Celestial Group and Borden Foods.

Douglas New joined convenience chain Yesway as Chief Technology Officer. New previously served as Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Tedeschi Food Shops, a New England based retailer with 181 stores. A newer entrant to the convenience store landscape, Yesway is owned by private equity group Brookwood Financial Partners. The chain currently operates 31 stores in the Midwest with plans to open 400-600 more locations through acquiring, refurbishing and rebranding already existing convenience stores.

Recently, The New Primal added two new senior level positions to the grass-fed beef and free-range turkey jerky brand. In addition to Samantha Blatz, who joined The New Primal team as Senior Marketing Manager, Jacquelyn Jeanes has been hired as Senior Supply Manager. Jeanes has over nine years of logistic experience and most recently served as Supply Chain and Purchasing Manager at beverage brand High Brew Coffee.

Curt Thompson joined bar brand RxBar as Director of Field Marketing to help the brand build out a national field marketing program. The move will take Thompson out of the beverage space; Thompson most recently spent three years as Executive Director of Marketing at First Aid Shot Therapy following his tenure as Director of Marketing for Coca-Cola Refreshments.

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