MARION, OHIO — The appointment of Jolie Weber to Wyandot Snacks’ Board of Directors will empower the company as it expands to serve a more national footprint. Ms. Weber’s appointment was effective March 31, and she will head the Audit Committee.
“Wyandot has been in expansionary mode in terms of products and segments of the market,” said Rob Sarlls, president and chief executive officer of Wyandot. “We’re looking to gain a more national footprint and footholds in new technology for better-for-you snacks and other verticals as well as moving to a multi-plant operation. With Jolie’s experience, 15-plus years in the snack business plus a strong strategic expertise and direct success with business transformation as Wyandot gets on what feels like a rocket ship, we can use her expertise and guidance.”
Ms. Weber is currently the CEO of Lenny & Larry’s, a national better-for-you (BFY) cookie brand based in Los Angeles. Prior to joining Lenny & Larry’s in 2020, Ms. Weber was CEO of Wise Foods, Inc., Berwick, Pa., from 2015 to 2019. During her tenure at Wise Foods, Ms. Weber initiated the business’ turnaround. Before becoming CEO, Ms. Weber was chief financial officer of Wise Foods.
“My direct experience in the multi-snack space not only from a brand but also from an operational perspective serves to fulfill a role to serve the team as they look to expand the products, the brands and overall manufacturing footprint; I think that’s the first real important component,” Ms. Weber explained. “Second, as we think about expanding into different categories, my current experience with a forward-facing, plant-based protein product can be applied and shared with Wyandot to look at what are the opportunities from an operational and consumer trend perspective. I have past and current experience that can be applied to help the transformation process with Wyandot.”
Mr. Sarlls said Wyandot’s desire to grow into a multi-operation business comes not just from an interest in branching out to adjacent categories but also necessity. He added that the company is often the first call customers make when looking for a partner in BFY snack manufacturing and that leads Wyandot to make some difficult decisions.
“What our team struggles to do is pick the best opportunities,” he explained. “Picking the right way to go is important, but we’ve also been good about pruning and shedding business that isn’t working. In the last couple of years, we’ve brought on new customers with a lot of growth prospects who are beloved by consumers, so now we’re bursting at the seams in Marion, so we have no choice but to expand. We’re looking at expanding pretty significantly over the next 2-4 years.”
To empower the expansion, Mr. Sarlls said Wyandot needs to build the right internal culture and human infrastructure to support the growth. Ms. Weber, as well as the rest of the board, will be critical to that process.
Including Ms. Weber, Wyandot’s board boasts three current or former chairs of SNAC International, the leading international trade association for the snack association. Mr. Sarlls serves as Wyandot’s chairman of the board as well as the current chair of SNAC International. Blake Thompson, chief supply chain officer of Feeding America and former SNAC International chair, is also on Wyandot’s board.
“On the surface, it seems like we are coming from similar backgrounds in the snack industry, but we are coming from different corporations that have different strategies and different management styles,” Ms. Weber said. “That brings diversity of thinking to the table, so I think we’ll have a robust brain trust that will help us propel forward in the new journey of Wyandot.”
While Mr. Sarlls expressed excitement at what Ms. Weber brings to the boardroom table, Ms. Weber also noted she is excited to join Wyandot.
“The entire Wyandot team, led by Rob, has displayed a willingness to think more broadly about what they can do to manufacture a BFY product,” she said. “They have broadened the definition and it’s allowed them to think differently about what they have historically been able to do.”