US food giant McCormick & Co. has named Brendan Foley as CEO, taking over from Lawrence Kurzius after more than seven years at the helm.

Kurzius, dubbed a “transformational leader”, has been with the spices and seasonings maker for 18 and a half years and will remain at the company as executive chairman of the board.

He passed his president responsibilities to Foley last June, the company said in a statement yesterday (28 June).

McCormick said Foley led the “successful integration” of its recent acquisitions, as well as the “realignment of the Americas region to deliver scale, drive significant cost reductions, and increase commercial focus on growth and innovation”.

“Over your past nine years at McCormick, you have a proven track record of delivering results as a leader,” Kurzius wrote in a post on social media yesterday. “I am confident McCormick will build upon our success.”

Foley has worked at the company for over nine years and has been a member of the management committee since 2015. He takes the role of CEO after almost a year as president and chief operating officer, where he had “full oversight of the company’s supply chain and commercial businesses globally”.

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By GlobalData

His previous roles include president of its US consumer division, North America division, global consumer arm, Americas and Asia divisions.

He joined McCormick & Co. following roles at Heinz and General Mills.

Prior to becoming CEO, Kurzius was chief operating officer, and during his time at McCormick & Co., has also headed up the company’s Americas, China, Europe, Middle East and Africa divisions.

Before joining McCormick & Co. he was CEO of Louisiana-based food and spice manufacturer Zatarain’s.

“Lawrence has been a transformational leader for McCormick, bringing our global flavor platform to life through his entrepreneurial spirit, innovative thinking, and growth-oriented vision for the company,” lead board director Michael Mangan said.

“During his tenure as CEO, sales grew over 50% and market capitalisation more than doubled.

“Lawrence is widely credited with driving a period of tremendous growth, performance, and expansion – including top tier organic sales growth and the acquisitions of iconic brands like Frank’s RedHot, French’s, and Cholula.”

Earlier this year, McCormick & Co. announced job cuts, citing “a challenging and volatile year” in 2022.

The Maryland-headquartered manufacturer’s sales fell 2% in the final quarter but were up 2% in constant-currency terms on the back of another round of pricing, tethered at 9%.

Underlying volumes were down 4%, with other offsetting factors cited as an “expected 2% volume decline from the Kitchen Basics divestiture and the exits of low-margin business in India and the consumer business in Russia, and a 1% year-over-year volume decline from the China Covid-related disruption”.

Sales for the year increased by 1% and by 3% in constant currency.

Kurzius outlined McCormick & Co.’s job cuts fit within the company’s efforts to realise annual cost savings of US$125m aimed at increased “profit realisation”.