Breakfast cereal start-up Catalina Crunch is undergoing executive changes with the founder stepping down as CEO and its president departing.

Krishna Kaliannan, who set-up the Indianapolis, Indiana-based company in 2017 as a keto-centric business before embracing the health-food market more widely, is giving up the position of chief executive. He will “remain very involved in the day-to-day operations” going forward, according to a statement today (12 January).

Doug Behrens, most recently the president and chief customer officer of snack maker KIND, will take up the reins as CEO.

Meanwhile, Catalina Crunch president Joel Warady “will transition to another opportunity after an impressive tenure under which the company experienced significant growth”.

The statement added: “The transition is seen as a positive step forward, reinforcing the company’s dedication to continuous improvement and sustained growth.”

Kaliannan, whose drive in setting up the keto business was his affliction to diabetes, said: “I am thrilled to welcome Doug Behrens to the Catalina Crunch team.

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“Hiring him is instrumental to get us to the next level as our needs as a company have changed. We are very excited about the future and look forward to building on the success that has defined the brand to date.”

Catalina Crunch as evolved from a keto-friendly business into a manufacturer of low-sugar breakfast cereal, cookies and snack mixes sold in retail and also through the direct-to-consumer channel. Warady spoke with Just Food last year to outline the plans for the business and the challenges in navigating through the cost-of-living crisis.

“Behrens will be responsible for bringing Catalina Crunch into its next phase of growth and expanding the brand’s retail footprint at a time when the company’s demand is at an all-time high,” the statement read.

The incoming CEO said: “I’ve been very impressed with the explosive growth of Catalina Crunch and excited to join the team for the next chapter. The better-for-you food and snacking space is incredibly dynamic and Catalina is well positioned to be a disruptive leader.”

Behrens’ background also includes “leadership positions” at Johnson & Johnson, the baby-food maker owned by UK-based Reckitt Benckiser, and French dairy giant Danone. He has also served at US-headquartered Amplify Snack Brands, the SkinnyPop popcorn brand owner bought by Hershey in 2017.