TreeHouse Foods names new chief executive officer

by Keith Nunes
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Steve Oakland, Treehouse Foods
Steve Oakland has been named the new c.e.o. of TreeHouse Foods.

OAK BROOK, ILL. — Steve Oakland will assume the duties of president and chief executive officer of TreeHouse Foods, Inc. on March 26. He will replace Sam K. Reed, who will serve as non-executive chairman of the board through July 1 and then retire from the company. Mr. Reed will serve in an advisory capacity to Mr. Oakland through the end of the year.

Mr. Oakland was most recently president of the J.M. Smucker Co.’s U.S. Food and Beverage business.

“Steve brings to TreeHouse a wealth of experience moving quickly to assimilate and integrate complex businesses, designing highly effective organizations and improving the growth and profitability of acquired companies,” said Dennis O'Brien, lead independent director of the board of directors of TreeHouse Foods. “His leadership principles and practices are the right fit for TreeHouse and will serve him well as a catalyst to drive revenue growth, supply chain optimization and organizational effectiveness.”

Mr. Oakland joins TreeHouse Foods, one of the largest private label manufacturers in North America, at a difficult time. For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2017, TreeHouse Foods recorded a loss of $286.2 million. The loss follows fiscal 2016, when the company recorded a loss of $228.6 million.

Sales for the year ticked up to $6,307.1 million in fiscal 2017 from $6,175.1 million the year prior.

A key item affecting the company’s bottom line was a $549.7 million impairment of goodwill and intangible assets charge taken in the fourth quarter related to the company’s Snacks business unit.

To get the company back on track, management is focused on reorganizing its supply chain and reducing its overall manufacturing footprint by 20%.

“I fully support the board’s appointment of Steve and am pleased to hand over the reins to him,” Mr. Reed said. “I’m delighted that we have attracted someone with a deep understanding of food and beverage and private label across all channels of distribution and classes of trade. Steve brings an independent strategic perspective of how we can build and strengthen our TreeHouse going forward, and I believe his experience and expertise will prove invaluable.” 
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