Piedmont Candy Co., known for its Red Bird puffs, has named Mark Stephens as its new chief executive officer after an extensive search process. He replaces Chris Reid, who will continue to serve on the Board of Directors. 

Stephens joins Piedmont from Pride Family Brands, Inc., a fully vertical manufacturer and distributor of premium outdoor aluminum furniture where he served as president. Before that, he held leadership positions at a wide array of companies including Broyhill Furniture and Orkin Pest Control. Mark began his career in the packaged goods industry with Ralston Purina, Pepperidge Farm and Campbell Soup.

“I was drawn to PCC’s distinguished reputation and unwavering dedication to handcrafted confectionery,” Stephens said. “I’m looking forward to working with the employee set to build upon the company’s established roots and success while introducing new ideas for the company’s next stage of growth.”

The appointment comes at a pivotal time for the candy brand (which Candy Industry featured in 2015) as it builds new revenue streams and prepares for meaningful growth in the coming years. Stephens will report to PCC’s Board of Directors, chaired by Don Stockton.

“We’re excited to bring Mark on board as we enter our 130th year of operation and apply our passion for great candy making to new product lines,” Stockton said. “Mark’s heritage brand experience, coupled with his strong leadership and communication skills, stood out amongst the candidate pool, and we’re confident he’ll be a positive changemaker as we explore strategic growth opportunities.”

In addition to diversifying PCC’s product offerings, Stephens will focus on cultivating new retail partnerships across the United States and developing programs that build upon the company’s core values — passion, quality, integrity and dedication.

Chris Reid, who was nominated for the Candy Industry Kettle Award in 2018, said he is excited to work with Mark to create a seamless transition for employees and customers. In his 32 years at PCC, Chris has facilitated tremendous growth and has built a strong, core business that will serve as the foundation for PCC’s future endeavors.