Seattle, Wash.-based Theo Chocolate has a new ceo.
Etienne Patout will take the company’s helm April 9, succeeding co-founder and former CEO Joe Whinney. In this role, Patout is committed to charting a course for Theo’s future growth while remaining consistent with the company’s founding mission, vision and values.
“I’m joining the Theo team because I believe in the mission; it’s an amazing brand and I’m confident it has tremendous potential,” Patout said. “The team makes the best chocolate in the world, while improving the lives of many who need it most.”
With a reputation for reinvention and innovation in leadership roles across several consumer goods companies, Patout brings a breadth of experience to Theo. He held senior leadership roles at the Kellogg Co., including general manager-wholesome snacks for Kellogg’s and Kashi brands; v.p. of innovation for the cereal division; general manager-Pop Tarts; and director for acquisitions and long lead innovation.
Preceding his work with Kellogg’s brands, Patout held a number of marketing leadership roles for brands at Kraft Foods including Oscar Mayer, Back to Nature and Boca Burger and served as director of acquisitions & global partnerships.
Most recently, served as chief marketing officer for Pharmavite, maker of Nature Made and Mega Foods vitamins and supplements, the leading brands in the mass and natural channels. While at Pharmavite, he led brand development; consumer and shopper Insights; media and advertising; new product development; and corporate strategy.
Patout currently serves as a board member for Goodwill Industries International. He joined the national board in June 2017. Goodwill Industries is a non-profit organization that provides job training, employment placement and other community-based services across the United States and 14 other countries.
Before entering the business world, Patout served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from Louisiana State University and a Master of Business Administration from the Carroll School of Management at Boston College in Boston, Mass.
Whinney, who co-founded Theo Chocolate in 2006, will move on to new endeavors but will stay connected to the company, remaining as a significant shareholder.
“As Theo Chocolate continues on its growth path — from an independent start-up to a significant player in the specialty chocolate space with a national presence — the board (of directors) and Joe concluded that a change was necessary,” a Theo spokesperson said. “We are grateful to Joe for his vision and innovation, and for over a decade of leadership.”