Kodiak has announced the appointment of the company’s new chief executive officer, Valerie Oswalt. Oswalt will succeed co-founder and incumbent CEO, Joel Clark, and co-founder and president, Cameron Smith, who will both transition into roles on Kodiak’s board of directors.

This appointment charts a new chapter of growth for the company and builds on a number of developments for Kodiak over the past 18 months, including a majority investment by Catterton, the hiring of Cory Bayers (former head of global marketing for Patagonia), and the appointment of renowned actor/producer Zac Efron as board member and chief brand officer.  

These developments build on Kodiak’s foundation, with 30+% top line growth in the last 52 weeks and a 60+% revenue CAGR over the past 12 years.

“It is a privilege to lead a fast-growing, purpose-driven food company built on a mission to inspire healthier eating and active living,” said new Kodiak CEO and Board Member Valerie Oswalt. “Kodiak was founded with the belief that everyone involved is a part of the greater goal to inspire those around them to enjoy real, nourishing food, get outside, and give their best no matter what the situation. I am inspired by the culture that has been cultivated by Kodiak’s founders and executive team since its inception and look forward to continuing to build upon it.”  

Oswalt joins a company which has driven roughly 50% of the total growth in its core categories and gaining 13 percentage points of market share across these categories in the past three years.

Oswalt joins Kodiak from Campbell Soup Company where she was the president of the snacks division and a Campbell executive vice president since 2020. Campbell Snacks is a $3.9 billion portfolio of brands such as Goldfish, Milano, Pepperidge Farm, Snyder’s of Hanover, Kettle Brand, Lance, Cape Cod, Snack Factory Pretzel Crisps, and also includes the company’s Latin America and global exports business. Prior to Campbell, she served as CEO of Century Snacks, a privately-held trail mix and nut products company, where she led the turnaround of the business with a portfolio of more than 400 branded, private label, and commercial products. Prior to Century Snacks, she built a career in the food industry working in executive positions at Mondelēz International and Kraft Foods. 

“Valerie’s people-first leadership style and deep industry experience uniquely position her to lead Kodiak into its next phase of growth,” said Joel Clark, Kodiak’s co-founder and incumbent CEO. “I’m thrilled to pass the baton to someone our team unanimously felt was the right person for the job. Someone who not only will continue building upon the foundation we’ve laid at Kodiak but also become a member of the Kodiak family for years to come. I’m excited to continue being part of the company’s story as a member of the board.”

“Building the Kodiak brand alongside Joel for over a decade has been such a rewarding experience. We have been fortunate to work alongside some great people that have helped build the culture, which has made Kodiak a very special place,” Cameron Smith, Co-Founder and President of Kodiak said. “We chose Valerie for this role because her approach to leadership mirrors those values that are so important to the culture at Kodiak. We’re confident her expertise will accelerate the growth of the company and team.”

Matt Leeds, partner at L Catterton, the global consumer investment firm that backs Kodiak, echoed his support of Valerie’s appointment, “Joel, Cameron, and the rest of Kodiak’s exceptional leadership team have built Kodiak into a powerful and deeply resonant brand,” he said. “It’s a testament to Joel and Cameron that Kodiak can attract someone as amazing as Valerie to the business, and her vision and leadership leave Kodiak well-positioned to build on this foundation for years to come.”