Ferrero names insider as new North American president

Dive Brief:

  • Ferrero Group appointed Todd Siwak as president and chief business officer of Ferrero North America, according to a company statement. Siwak, the former president and CEO of Ferrero Group’s Ferrara unit, will oversee the parent company’s business in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.
  • Reflecting the importance of the market, the release noted Siwak would lead Ferrero North America’s transition from being an international region of the parent company to its own distinct area. He will report directly to Ferrero Group CEO Lapo Civiletti. This shift is meant to help Ferrero improve its position in sweet packaged foods.
  • Siwak takes over the North American leadership role at Ferrero from Paul Chibe, who had been in the position since 2015. Chibe has been named global president of sugar confectionery and gums for Ferrero Group. The C-suite shifts take place as the snacks and candy maker refreshes brands it acquired following a series of acquisitions.

Dive Insight:

As president and CEO of Ferrara — a role he held for seven years — Siwak was credited with driving revenue and profit growth through restructuring, tackling operational inefficiencies and product refreshes. Innovation has been a major focus at Nutella and Tic Tac maker Ferrero, which has revived legacy brands in its portfolio — many of them recently acquired — and reconnected the offerings with consumer trends.

Ferrara Candy, the maker of Red Hots, Brach’s and SweeTarts, was purchased by Ferrero Group in 2017. A year later, Ferrero acquired Nestlé’s U.S. candy business, including sweets like Butterfinger and Baby Ruth. In 2019, Ferrero purchased Kellogg’s cookie and fruit snacks brands, adding to the fold products such as Keebler and Famous Amos. Since then, it has focused its attention on refreshing many of these iconic labels. 

Most recently, it repositioned Famous Amos as Famous Amos Wonders From the World, with premium ingredients such as Belgian chocolate and Mediterranean Hazelnuts. It redesigned the packaging by swapping out the folksy yellow label for a more sophisticated neutral beige. 

In May, Ferrara relaunched its fruit snacks business highlighted by the debut of Funables, a fruit snacks brand featuring higher-quality ingredients and colorful, experiential packaging with games, stickers and new licensing partnerships such as Batman and Barbie. 

Ferrara, which has managed the cookie division since its purchase by Ferrero, also has made subtle changes to Keebler cookies to boost their appeal. Keebler Chips Deluxe are now made with natural vanilla and more real chocolate, and Sandies use Madagascar vanilla. These changes are aimed at the consumers’ growing interest in more authentic ingredients.

On the confectionery side, Ferrero claims to be one of the fastest-growing manufacturers in the U.S., with a five-year growth rate of more than 6%, triple that of the total category. It has integrated acquired brands such as Butterfinger, Crunch and Fannie May, and it is building its first chocolate manufacturing plant in North America.

Ferrero and its Ferrara operations have been moving methodically to embrace premium and better-for-you ingredients while overhauling their packaging to make them stand out in a crowded marketplace. For Siwak, the challenge is to build on the momentum that he was instrumental in creating. It would not be a surprise to see additional snack and candy brands be subjected to the same refresh with new line extensions to existing offerings also hitting shelves. And after a pause, more acquisitions also could be in the company’s cross hairs.

Ferrero’s series of deals and recent product changes show the company is serious about being a major player in North America. In making changes to its C-suite, Ferrero has looked within its own walls and for good reason: the recent moves show promise in helping grow the company and reach its broader global ambitions.

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