Utz Brands, Inc., a U.S. manufacturer of branded salty snacks, has announced that after 27 years with the company, Dylan Lissette, currently chief executive officer, will be appointed executive chairman of the board, effective December 15. At that time, Howard Friedman, currently chief operations officer of Post Holdings, Inc., will join the company as chief executive officer and serve as a member of the Utz board. Commensurate with these appointments, Roger Deromedi, current chairman of the board, will become Lead Independent Director. Mr. Lissette will transition to the role of non-executive chairman of the board in the second quarter of 2023.
This leadership transition was initially contemplated at the time of the merger between Collier Creek Holdings and Utz and is a natural next step as Utz continues to develop as a public company. The search for the next CEO of Utz included the consideration of both internal and external candidates, leading to the identification of Friedman as an ideal successor to Lissette, with the right CPG experience and expertise to lead the company as it accelerates its proven growth strategy.
Joining the company in 1995 and serving as CEO since 2013, Lissette has been integral in the Company’s success, guiding Utz through its evolution from a regional snack food brand to the third largest branded salty snack platform in the United States. During his tenure as CEO, Lissette oversaw a decade of significant accomplishments, including sales growth that nearly tripled to reach over $1.3 billion, Utz’s debut as a public company, and the completion of six acquisitions since the Company’s public listing in 2020.
Lissette said, “I have had the honor and privilege to work for and to help lead this great company for nearly three decades. It has been immensely gratifying to see the success of our team over so many years, as Utz continues to achieve enhanced scale while never compromising the family crafted quality and great flavors that our consumers expect. Our track record of success has been incredible, and I am truly excited to transition into the role of Executive Chairman and to welcome Howard to our team.”
Friedman has more than 25 years of experience in the food and beverage sector leading some of America’s most iconic brands, including PEBBLES cereal, LUNCHABLES snacks, PHILADELPHIA cream cheese, KOOL-AID drinks, and KRAFT foods. Throughout the course of his career, Friedman has built a proven track record of profitably growing businesses through world-class marketing, strategy, and innovation. Additionally, he has deep experience in new business integration, commercial execution, and value creation.
Lissette continued, “I am thrilled we found such an excellent leader in Howard to help take Utz to even greater heights. Howard brings extensive experience increasing market share and unlocking growth potential, with a focus on building innovative brands and strategic business development. The board and I are confident that he will help lead Utz to tremendous success as we grow our presence across geographies, salty snack sub-categories, and channels. I look forward to stepping into my new strategic role working with Howard, our management team, and our Board to help ensure the continuity of Utz’s heritage, culture, and forward growth momentum.”
Friedman said, “I am honored to join Utz as CEO at this important time, and I see enormous potential to continue Utz’s exciting journey. I am confident that, with such a values-driven, passionate organization, and a portfolio of iconic snacks beloved by families across the U.S., Utz is just getting started. I am eager to start this new chapter and work with Dylan, the Utz leadership team, and the board to drive value, expand the bompany’s reach, and deliver growth as we produce world-class product innovation and the flagship snacks consumers have connected with for more than a century.”
Deromedi stated, “We are pleased to welcome Howard as our next CEO after a thorough search and succession planning process. Howard is an exceptionally strong leader with the skills, experience, and perspective to execute our strategy and lead Utz to succeed well into the future. We are also fortunate to have Dylan as an integral member of the board, building on both his legacy of successful leadership at Utz, as well as the Rice and Lissette’s continuing and significant ownership stake in the Company.”
Michael Rice, Utz chairman emeritus and previous Utz CEO of more than 30 years, added, “Utz has been blessed with talented associates every step of the way on our journey to becoming one of the largest salty snack companies in the country. With the foundation that Dylan and the team have built, and now under Howard’s leadership, I feel we have tremendous continued growth potential. The Utz team continues to strengthen our nationwide capabilities, and our associates always amaze me with their passion for creating the best snack foods in the industry. With Dylan as the chairman of the board and Howard leading the business, I anticipate continued success long into the future.”
Company reaffirms fiscal year 2022 outlook
The company also reaffirmed its fiscal year 2022 outlook, which it last updated on August 11. For 2022, the company continues to expect total net sales growth of 13-15%, Organic Net Sales growth of 10-12%, and Adjusted EBITDA growth of 2-5%.
With respect to projected fiscal 2022 Adjusted EBITDA, a quantitative reconciliation is not available without unreasonable efforts due to the high variability, complexity, and low visibility with respect to certain items, which are excluded from Adjusted EBITDA. The variability of these items are expected to have a potentially unpredictable, and potentially significant, impact on the company's future financial results.