Utz Brands recently announced several changes to its executive roster as it reevaluates its next phase of growth.
First, Cary Devore has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, a new position for the company. Devore will start October 4, 2021. He is currently Chief Financial Officer and will continue to report to Dylan Lissette, Chief Executive Officer of Utz.
As Chief Operating Officer, Devore will work across the organization to help drive revenue growth, productivity, and operational excellence. In addition, he will continue to drive Utz’s strategic corporate initiatives including mergers and acquisitions (M&A), 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.
According to a press release, Devore joined Utz in 2016 as a Board Member. This was part of a minority equity investment into Utz. He then transitioned to a full-time operational role in 2017. From 2016 to 2019, Cary worked closely with the CEO on driving M&A and completed eight acquisitions. He also drove value creation and team development, as Utz continued its national expansion and built out its capabilities. In 2019, Cary became Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, where he focused on leading the company’s merger with Collier Creek Holdings and its highly successful transition to a public company.
The next appointment was Ajay Kataria, who was appointed to Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, a role that will go into effect October 4. Kataria is currently the Executive Vice President of Finance and Accounting and will also report to Lissette. He 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, that he oversees today. He 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, Kataria has been a key contributor to Utz’s M&A integrations and helped lead the Accounting team through the company’s listing process. Kataria joined Utz from Armstrong Flooring, where he served as Vice President, Global Finance and Strategy, and led all aspects of business finance and strategy, including international finance teams across Asia and Australia. Prior to Armstrong, he was with Chobani as Vice President, Finance, where he played a significant role as part of the team brought in by a private equity investor. Prior to that, he spent a decade with PepsiCo, where he held increasingly complex finance roles in large regional and national Direct Store Delivery (“DSD”) operations within the U.S. beverage business.
Jim Sponaugle was appointed Executive Vice President and Chief People Officer, effective October 4. He is currently the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Personnel Development and will continue to report to the CEO in his new role.
He joined Utz in early 2020 and was instrumental in guiding the company through the COVID-19 pandemic, while he also helped to build its corporate governance and compliance framework as a newly public company. According to the release, he is passionate about positioning Utz for a stronger future focused on talent development as Utz continues to grow.
And last but not least, Todd Staub has announced his intention to retire as the current Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer. This retirement will go into effect January 3, 2022. During his time with Utz, Staub helped grow the company over the past 25 years from $100 million in sales to over $1 billion today.
His contributions include serving as Controller, Chief Financial Officer, and eventually the promotion to Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer in 2017.
“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. “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 U.S.”
Congratulations to all on this next step in their careers!