Harrison McCain, the co-founder of frozen foods producer McCain Foods, is to step down from his position as company chairman.

McCain’s nephew, Allison McCain, who has worked for the company for 27 years, is to take over as chairman while the company’s co-founder will remain active on the board of directors and will become founding chairman.

Allison McCain, 53, was named deputy chairman in 1999 after running the company’s British operations since 1983. He is the son of McCain’s brother Andrew, a former company director.

In an interview with the National Post from his home in Florenceville, New Brunswick, Harrison McCain said his nephew was well-trained for the job. “He’s a bright guy, he has a good personality and lots of experience – why shouldn’t he have the job?” McCain added.
Harrison McCain co-founded McCain Foods with his younger brother Wallace and his two late older brothers Andrew and Robert in 1956.

The company is now one of Canada’s largest private firms and its biggest food company, with 18,000 employees, 55 facilities in six continents and C$6bn (US$3.9bn) in yearly revenue. McCain is the world’s largest French fry producer and also makes pizzas, desserts and drinks. It recently expanded into Chinese food with the acquisition of Montreal-based Chinese frozen food producer Wong Wing Foods in October.

Allison McCain has been rumoured to be a likely successor to his uncle ever since a family feud over succession in the early 1990s that led to the departure of co-founder and president Wallace McCain and his sons Michael and Scott. Wallace, who is now chairman of Maple Leaf Foods, and Harrison each control 34% of the family company, while the children of Andrew McCain and Robert McCain own the balance of the shares, reported the National Post.