Mark Kleinman has been appointed chief executive officer of Walkers Shortbread, Inc.

HAUPPAGE, N.Y. — Mark Kleinman, who previously held senior positions at ConAgra Foods, Groupe Danone and Novartis, has been appointed chief executive officer of Walkers Shortbread, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Scotland-based Walkers Shortbread Ltd., effective Jan. 1. He already has joined the company and is working with current c.e.o. Steve Dawson.

“This is a good time to pass leadership of our dedicated U.S. sales, marketing and customer service team to Mark, who instinctively knows what makes for great, enduring consumer brands,” Mr. Dawson said. “My eight years at Walkers, backed by the long-term vision and commitment of the Walker family, have been an honor and a pleasure.”

Mr. Kleinman worked at Groupe Danone for 10 years and led the product development of Dannon Light Yogurt in the United States. He also served in general management, sales and marketing leadership roles in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. While at ConAgra Foods, Mr. Kleinman was executive vice-president/general manager of the Hebrew National business unit. At Novartis, he was vice-president/marketing head for Latin America.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with stewardship of the Walkers brand in the USA,” Mr. Kleinman said. “I’ve long been a fan. I look forward to working with Steve, the dedicated Walkers team and Walkers business partners to chart a course for continued long-term growth and development.”

Mr. Dawson, during his eight-year tenure as c.e.o., led the U.S. launch of Walkers line of gluten-free products.

“The U.S. is the largest export market for Walkers, and we are grateful for Steve’s skilled and effective leadership over the past eight years,” said Jim Walker, joint managing director, Walkers Shortbread Ltd.

Shortbread, cookies and oatcakes from Walkers Shortbread contain no artificial flavorings, colorings or additives. The company was founded in Scotland in 1898.