Keller, who left Netherlands-based JDE Peet’s in September as a result of his household couldn’t relocate abroad through the pandemic, has the type of experience that B&G Meals can use to proceed constructing its manufacturers and status, in addition to climate the continued monetary storm.
“Casey is a meals and beverage trade veteran with wonderful management abilities and a confirmed observe report of producing income and earnings progress,” Stephen Sherrill, B&G’s chairman, mentioned in a written assertion.
Keller, who might help lead progress and model turnarounds, has a ability set that matches in with B&G’s long-term technique. However he is additionally labored on each facet of massive M&A offers, from making an acquisition to serving to a corporation merge into a brand new firm.
At Peet’s, he helped the corporate develop in the USA, in addition to led an growth to China. Throughout the pandemic, JDE Peet’s shortly constructed up its CPG enterprise and e-commerce choices — progress that Keller mentioned in an earnings name final August largely offset losses at its espresso outlets and away from residence areas.
At Wrigley, Keller is understood for injecting new life into the gum class. He advised the Chicago Tribune in 2015 that success got here from going again to the core of the enterprise: chopping again on the plethora of sorts, investing in promoting and placing extra emphasis in making merchandise that performed up the enjoyable facet of gum.
At B&G Meals, an organization that’s recognized for being a serial acquirer, somebody with Keller’s M&A expertise can also be useful. He is labored at key positions in large acquisitions — CEO at Peet’s through the Jacobs Douwe Egberts merger and world president at Wrigley through the Mars merger — however he is additionally been with smaller firms which were purchased by large ones. He was president of non-public care firm Alberto Culver USA when it was acquired by Unilever in 2011.
There’s a lot for Keller to do as he takes the reins at B&G. Within the earnings report launched similtaneously the hiring announcement, B&G reported its internet gross sales have been up 12.4% to $505.1 million within the first quarter of 2021, in comparison with the identical interval a yr in the past. The corporate mentioned it sees challenges from inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic and provide chain points, and couldn’t present steerage past gross sales for the remainder of 2021.
A poor rising season final yr and dramatically elevated demand have made Inexperienced Big merchandise — the corporate’s greatest model — briefly provide. In Tuesday’s earnings name, Wenner mentioned these points led to a 16.4% drop in gross sales for the model in the newest quarter, in comparison with final yr. He famous the problem wasn’t with demand, however with provide. Keller will want to verify Inexperienced Big can enhance output and make sure the model is high of thoughts for customers.
Inflation and provide chain prices additionally threaten to harm B&G. In December, the corporate accomplished the $550 million acquisition of Crisco from J.M. Smucker. Wenner mentioned on the earnings name that the model’s gross sales within the quarter hit $58 million — accounting for practically all of B&G Meals’ gross sales progress in that interval.
The price of the oils used to make Crisco has doubled within the final yr, which may show difficult on the subject of pricing. Wenner mentioned the corporate has already accomplished what it will probably to hedge this enhance, however expects commodity and packaging prices to develop within the close to time period. Sturdy management from Keller might be vital to manage value will increase — and let customers know why they’re occurring.