US private-equity firm Forward Consumer Partners has acquired a majority stake in local baker and cracker maker Firehook Bakery.

Pierre Abushacra, Firehook’s founder, will retain a “significant minority ownership stake” in the Virginia-based company. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Abushacra said: “In identifying a partner to shepherd Firehook’s next phase of growth, it was essential to find a team who could support our mission of continuing to build an exceptional business rooted in quality and transparency.”

According to the investment firm, Firehook has “grown at a 50% CAGR over the past decade”. It did not provide specific figures.

Firehook has also appointed a new CEO, Maura Mottolese, amid changes to the company’s leadership.

Mottolese has held board roles at Belgian bakery company Belgian Boys, US-based ice cream maker Casper’s Ice Cream and US better-for-you snack producer Aloha.

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According to her LinkedIn profile, she was chief executive role at hot-sauce maker Cholula Food Company from 2019 to 2021. Before that role, Mottolese was CEO at US baker Tate’s Bake Shop from 2014 to five years.

She said: “It is a true privilege to join a business with such a rare combination of existing success and future opportunity. I look forward to building on the strong foundation that Pierre and the team have created as we strengthen the Firehook brand, expand the company’s capabilities, and grow its loyal base of consumers.”

Firehook has also expanded its executive team with the additions of another ex-Cholula executive, Terry Bigham, as chief growth officer and former Dewey’s Bakery CMO Ellen Howse as chief marketing officer.

Meanwhile, Matt Leeds, Forward’s founder, has become chairman of Firehook. The deal marks the first acquisition from Forward’s $425m Fund I, which the business said was oversubscribed.

Leeds said: “We could not be more excited to partner with Pierre and the talented individuals who comprise the Firehook team. We are grateful to have pursued this unique opportunity on a fully proprietary basis, and are honoured to be entrusted with the next chapter in Firehook’s journey.”

Forward said the baking business bakes all its products “in-house” and is organic, non-GMO and Kosher.