Mars names new CEO as sales outstrip Coke

Poul Weihrauch

Mars has revealed annual sales of $45bn (£37bn), outstripping those posted by Coca-Cola, as the company announced its CEO Grant Reid is stepping down after eight years of “unprecedented growth”.

Reid, who kicked off his career at Mars as a marketing manager in 1988, will be replaced by current Mars Petcare global president Poul Weihrauch in September.

Under Reid’s leadership, sales have grown by more than 50 per cent to $45bn, while the number of employees has risen from 60,000 to 140,000. As the Financial Times reports, revenue of $45bn would put Mars ahead of growth reported by not only Coke, but also Nestlé, Unilever and Mondelēz.

Citing Reid’s tenure as CEO as a period of “transformation”, his leadership is credited with kickstarting the company’s “significant expansion” into new areas such as veterinary health, pet services and healthy snacking.

Board chair Frank Mars paid tribute to Reid’s “extraordinary legacy”, which he says includes “fusing performance with purpose, delivering sustainable growth, ramping up digital capabilities, building its iconic brands”. He also thanked Reid for embedding purpose into the heart of the company’s business strategy.

“I’m proud that, in the face of challenges such as a global pandemic, we have never lost sight of our strategic path or our ambition to help create the world we want tomorrow – and to drive both purpose and performance,” says Reid, who will stay in the business until the end of 2022.

His replacement Weihrauch also comes from a marketing background, having joined Mars as a management trainee in 1992, before leaving in 1994 for a series of sales and marketing roles at Nestlé. Weihrauch returned to Mars in 2000 as brand leader for Snickers, before assuming several general management positions.

While acknowledging that we live in “challenging times”, Weihrauch describes himself as an optimist who believes in the “power of business to have a positive impact”.