Just Born, Inc. CEO Ross Born has announced plans to retire, the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania-based company said Thursday. 

Born’s grandfather, Sam Born, founded the company in 1923. Born, 68, has led the company for more than four decades, along with his cousin and co-owner, David Shaffer. Born was inducted into the National Confectionery Sales Association’s Candy Hall of Fame in 2009 and has served as chairman of the National Confectioners Association.

Born will work with the company’s Board of Directors, which has established a search committee to recruit a new CEO. He will continue as leader of the company until the new CEO is on board.  

David Yale will remain in his role as Just Born president and COO, and Shaffer will continue to serve as Chairman of the Board.

Family ownership of the company, which manufactures brands including Mike and Ike, Hot Tamales, Peeps and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, will continue. 

“This is my 44th year in the family business,” Born said. “Thanks to our Just Born associates, our brokers, customers, suppliers and community partners, it has been the experience of a lifetime. I have enjoyed the close relationship I have had with David Shaffer, my cousin and business partner for my entire professional career.  Now it’s time for me to pass the baton to a new CEO, who along with our top-notch executive team, will take the business to new heights.  I’m really looking forward to spending more time with my wife and family – especially our four grandchildren! And, I will continue to focus efforts on ways to make our community a better place for everyone.”

Shaffer added: “There are not enough words to describe the innumerable contributions that Ross has made to our company, the confections industry, our stakeholders and our community. While his leadership and passion will be missed, he is leaving Just Born in a strong competitive position as we are coming off a record setting year — achieved despite the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.”