PEOPLE & PROMOTIONS

McCormick & Company has hired Monica Breithaupt as Vice President of Sales leading their Walmart & Sam’s Club business.  Monica was previously with Georgia Pacific for the previous 14 years, spending the past 8 years as VP of Sales.

Dean General is Sr. VP of Walmart Customer Team for Newell Brands. He was President of Kraft Heinz Walmart & Sam’s Teams before joining Newell.  Dean, call me and let’s talk recruiting for your team.

Ryan Dossey is Vice President of Operations for Lauren James Company. Ryan had been the Vice President / General Manager for Mahco Outdoors International business.

Tanner Henderson has been promoted to Director of Sales at Vizio, his 3rd promotion in 3 years with Vizio.

Drew Childers has been promoted from Sales Director to Sr. Sales Director at Yieldbot.

Elizabeth Scott is now VP of Business Development for L’Image Home Products. She was previously Director of National Accounts for The Jel Sert Company

Hubie Nelson is now Director of Sales for Simmons Foods.  He was formerly Sr. Director of Sales at Shearer’s Snacks.

Matt Lassiter has taken a role as Director of National Accounts for Trinchero Family Estates. Matt was with Starkist prior to Trinchero.

Jeff Ratcliff is now Director / Team Leader for Starbucks Walmart & Sam’s Club team. Jeff had been with Del Monte (Big Heart Pet Brands) for 16 years.

Advantage Solutions has acquired the services of Todd Hanus as EVP Global Walmart Team.  He had been with Kraft / Mondelez since 1992.

Damian Lux has received a promotion to Sr. Director of Sales Danone Dairy

White Wave Foods has hired Lisa Faulkner as Director of Strategy & Insights. She was previously at Jack Link’s and Pepsi.

Laura Farar is now Vice President of Sales at Lifeworks Technology Group

Driveline Retail Merchandising has hired Ken Drish as EVP of Business Development. He had been Vice President of Crossmark’s Walmart team.

Becca Dickerson Mullins is VP of Sales for Walmart & Sam’s Club for Brynwood Partners.  Becca came from Russell Stover Candies (Lindt).

James Di Salvo has been promoted to Team Leader over Abbott Nutrition’s Walmart & Sam’s Club business. He is taking over for Steve Wolf, who retired in November after 21 years w/ Abbott (Ross).

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MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

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Reckitt Benckiser buys baby formula firm Mead Johnson.

Newell to buy Sistema, (food- storage containers) and Woodwick candle brand for $570M.

Smithfield foods will buy Farmer John (pork meat company) from Hormel.

Nestle USA to move Headquarters to D.C. area.

Gildan acquires Peds Legwear & American Apparel.

ConAgra Foods acquires Frontera, Red Fork & Salpica Brands (gourmet Mexican food and contemporary American cooking sauces).

B&G Foods acquires the spice and seasonings business from ACH Foods for $365 million.

Revlon acquires Elizabeth Arden.

Bass Pro Shops buys Cabela’s for $4.5 billion.

Constellation Brands acquires High West Distillery (whiskey maker) for $160 million.

Stanley Black & Decker is buying the tools division of Newell Brands for $1.95 billion.

Stanley Black & Decker buys Craftsman from Sears.

Coty has purchased hair tools company ghd (Good Hair Day).

Xaxis has acquired Triad Retail Media.

Scott’s Miracle Grow buys Blossom.

Inmar acquires Collective Bias..

NBTY will now go by the name Nature’s Bounty.

Dr. Pepper Snapple to acquire fruit-flavored healthy drink company Bai for $1.7 billion.

PepsiCo to acquire KeVita, a leader in fermented probiotic beverages.

McCormick & Co. is purchasing Italian based flavor manufacturer Enrico Giotti SpA for $127 million in an effort to grow their European business.

Unilever is acquiring Living Proof hair care products company.

Walmart / Jet.com buy online shoe retailer ShoeBuy for $70 million.

Mars has purchased pet company, VCA for $7.7 billion. VCA is best known for its ownership of the Camp Bow Wow Franchises, but they also own 800 Pet Hospitals among other interests.

Henkel is purchasing Sun Products for more than $3.6 billion.

Walmart is buying Moosejaw for $51 million in loose change. Apparel is now the largest category for online purchases and 85% of Moosejaw sales are conducted online.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public has agreed to buy Bellisio Foods. Bellisio foods produces frozen snacks, sauces and side dishes under the Michelina’s and Eat Brand.

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COMPANY NEWS

2017 Supplier of the Year Awards: (Announced before the breakout sessions.) Investing in America – Supplier Challenge Award = Sinomax USA (maker of memory foam products) Supplier of the Year – Food Innovation = Twinstar Bakery Supplier of the Year – Consumables / Health & Wellness = Chattem Supplier of the Year – General Merchandise […]

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STATS

U.S. Unemployment Rate is 4.8%. Arkansas Unemployment rate as of Jan.1 was just under 4% and the unemployment rate in Northwest Arkansas is close to 3%.

U.S. Compensation rose 2.2% in 2016, while inflation rose by less than 1.5%. Commentary: Expect some increases in inflation.

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