B&G Foods’ longtime former leader Wenner named interim CEO

Romanzi leaving role as CEO, board member to pursue personal interests

B&G Foods announced Monday that the company and CEO Kenneth Romanzi have agreed Romanzi will step aside to pursue personal interests, effective immediately.

To ensure an orderly transition, the board of directors has appointed David Wenner, a current member of the board and former CEO, as interim CEO and president. Wenner was CEO of B&G Foods from 1993-2014.

Romanzi, in a statement, said he thoroughly enjoyed his time at B&G Foods and is proud of all of the company’s accomplishments.

Kenneth Romanzi. (File photo)

“The business is in excellent shape and I am confident the team will continue to deliver terrific results,” he said. “I wish the entire B&G Foods family all the best for a bright future.”

Based in Parsippany, B&G Foods and its subsidiaries manufacture, sell and distribute branded shelf-stable and frozen foods across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. B&G has a diverse portfolio of more than 50 brands, including B&G, B&M, Cream of Wheat, Dash, Green Giant, Las Palmas, Le Sueur, Mama Mary’s, Maple Grove Farms, New York Style, Ortega, Polaner, Spice Islands and Victoria.

B&G officials said the company will initiate a search for a new CEO and president. The board has appointed a special committee to direct the search and transition process, chaired by Dennis M. Mullen, chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee.

B&G board Chair Stephen Sherrill said the company thanked Romanzi for his service.

“Under Ken’s leadership, B&G Foods’ financial performance has been very strong during the ongoing pandemic, as our portfolio of leading brands has benefited from increased eating at home, resulting in strong year-over-year growth,” he said. “The company is in excellent operational and financial condition as evidenced by the quarterly and year-to-date financial results we reported earlier this month.

“Furthermore, after successfully acquiring and integrating the Clabber Girl business, B&G Foods is continuing on the acquisition path with its pending purchase of Crisco. All in all, we believe this is a good time to make a leadership transition, and we are very fortunate that our former longtime CEO, Dave Wenner, who has continued to serve on our board of directors, is now available and has agreed to help lead our company while we search for our next CEO.”

Wenner said he is eager for the challenge.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to once again lead our company, work with our talented executive leadership team, and reinforce the principles and strategies that have helped create tremendous value for all of our stakeholders over the years,” he said. “We will continue to focus on growth, including organic growth and growth through acquisitions, operational improvements and cost reduction efforts.”

B&G Foods also reaffirmed the full-year fiscal 2020 financial guidance that was provided by the company in its earnings release Nov. 5.

Monday’s announcement is not expected to impact the timing of the completion of the pending Crisco acquisition. B&G Foods expects the acquisition to close during the fourth quarter of 2020, subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals.

Sherrill said Wenner’s past success gives the company optimism for the future.

“Under Dave’s leadership, B&G Foods successfully completed and integrated 16 acquisitions and evolved from a small, regional pickle company to a leading public food company with a diverse portfolio of iconic brands, which resulted in tremendous value creation for B&G Foods’ stockholders in the form of dividends and stock price appreciation,” he said.

“Through continued service on our board of directors since his retirement, Dave is very much up to speed on all aspects of our company’s operations and is deeply familiar with our strategy, our executive team and our brands. Together with the very strong management team that Ken has organized and led, Dave is very well prepared to steer the ship during this transition period.”