HANOVER, PA. — Utz Brands, Inc. has announced more changes to its executive management team, including a new chief operating officer, chief financial officer and chief people officer. The executive changes are part of the company’s efforts to better position itself for its next phase of growth and come a little more than a month after the company named a new chief growth officer and chief customer officer.
“As we evolve as a public company, we will continue to enhance Utz’s leadership team to accelerate our ability to grow and strengthen our organization,” said Dylan Lissette, chief executive officer of Utz. “Our collective goal is to create long-term value for our stakeholders, and we are uniquely positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities for our Power Brands while also enhancing profitability through our value creation initiatives. We believe today’s announcements provide the company with the optimal organizational structure to execute against our strategy and will best position Utz to deliver on its commitment to be the fastest-growing, pure-play branded salty snack company of scale in the US.”
Cary Devore has been named executive vice president and COO, a new position within Utz, effective Oct. 4. In the newly created role, Mr. Devore will work across the organization to help drive revenue growth, productivity and operational excellence. In addition, he will continue to drive the company’s strategic corporate initiatives, including mergers and acquisitions and capital markets, as well as continue to provide oversight for the Project Management Office, which manages the implementation of value creation and acquisition integration initiatives.
Mr. Devore has been executive vice president and CFO since 2019. Earlier, he worked with Mr. Lissette on driving mergers and acquisitions, value creation and team development. He joined Utz in 2016 as a board member as part of a minority equity investment into Utz and transitioned to a full-time operational role in 2017. Before joining Utz he was a managing partner at Metropoulos & Co. He also has worked as a managing director at SilverStream Capital, LLC; a principal at HBK Private Equity LLC; an associate director at UBS Investment Bank; and an assistant vice president at Jordan Industries.
Ajay Kataria has been promoted to executive vice president and CFO. Mr. Kataria is currently the company’s executive vice president of finance and accounting. Mr. Kataria is a global consumer goods finance leader with more than 20 years of experience. As CFO, he will assume responsibility of accounting, tax and investor relations, in addition to the business partner teams and information technology function, which he oversees currently.
Mr. Kataria joined Utz in 2017 and has been instrumental in building out the company’s FP&A, commercial finance, and supply chain finance teams, as well as overseeing the IT function, and playing a leadership role in migrating to a new fully integrated ERP infrastructure. In addition, he has been a key contributor to Utz’s M&A integrations and helped lead the accounting team through the company’s public listing process. He joined Utz from Armstrong Flooring, Inc., where he was vice president of global finance and strategy. Prior to Armstrong, he was vice president of finance at Chobani. Prior to Chobani, he spent a decade with PepsiCo, Inc., where he held increasingly complex finance roles in large regional and national direct-store delivery operations within the US beverage business.
Jim Sponaugle has been named executive vice president and chief people officer. Mr. Sponaugle joined Utz in early 2020 as senior vice president of human resources and personnel development. He has been instrumental in guiding the company through the COVID-19 pandemic, while he also helped build the company’s corporate governance and compliance framework as a newly public company. Prior to joining Utz he spent 11 years at Stewart Companies in a variety of roles, including executive vice president and business development director. He also spent nine years at Cintas Corp. as a general manager and marketing manager.
Utz also announced that Todd Staub, executive vice president and chief administrative officer, has announced his intention to retire effective Jan. 3, 2022. Mr. Staub has been with Utz for 25 years and has held various roles, including controller and CFO.
In June, Utz named Shane Chambers to the newly created role of executive vice president and chief growth officer and Mark Schreiber to executive vice president of sales and chief customer officer.