Jelly Belly Candy Co. has announced a key management transition.

After a sweet 15-year career as the candymaker's president and coo, Robert Simpson has announced his retirement, slated for the end of March.

Robert Simpson.

He will be replaced by Lisa Brasher, who has been appointed president and ceo of Jelly Belly in Simpson's stead. Brasher will report to her father Herman Rowland, chairman of the Board.

Simpson was appointed in 2000. During his tenure, he was responsible for Jelly Belly's executive and operational functions in national and international markets, including new business operations to build and leverage brand awareness. Under his leadership, Simpson positioned Jelly Belly as a global confectionery leader and launched a successful global licensing program with co-branded partnerships.

"It has been a phenomenal 15 years and I am so appreciative of having worked on an iconic brand that positively impacts the lives of our employees, business partners and consumers," says Simpson. "What we accomplish is admired throughout the industry. I know there are even more great things ahead."

He joined Jelly Belly after a 30-year career at Raley's Inc., a 149-store supermarket chain where he was senior director of marketing and merchandising. There, Simpson designed the corporation's marketing and merchandising strategies, developed new store formats and directed competitive consumer research initiatives.

Recently, he completed a two-year term as chairman on the Board of Trustees of the National Confectioners' Association. During the four years he served on the board, Simpson worked with industry leaders, promoting the entire confectionery industry. He also led the association's new strategic planning process and served as chairman of the Candy Political Action Committee.

Lisa Brasher.

Simpson's successor, Brasher, is a fifth-generation candymaker in her family.

In her new position as president and ceo, she will lead the company's executive operational activities and oversee three manufacturing plants and the company's operations in China, Germany and Thailand.

 “This company was founded on the traditions of family and quality candy. We intend to remain a family company, and I’m proud that the fifth and sixth generations are stepping up to drive the business forward," says Rowland. "I have great confidence that this appointment will position the company for successive generations to carry on the 146-year tradition of candy manufacturing."

Prior to her appointment, Brasher had 33 years of experience in the day-to-day operations of the company.

She was vice chairman of the Board since 2009 and v.p. of administration from 2006-2009 at the company's headquarters, where she was involved in executive management. She is a company spokesperson on tv, radio and print media and has broad experience to lead the company forward.

Brasher joined the company in 1982 as a customer service representative and billing clerk. In the 1980s, she worked in finance alongside her grandmother Aloyse Rowland and managed Accounts Payable. She also held positions in HR and sales merchandising in her early career, before joining the executive team as corporate director in the 1990s.