Bazooka candy maker Topps Co. has promoted its president and chief operating officer, Michael Brandstaedter, to the post of CEO. 

The company said Brandstaedter will retain the title of president. His focus will the “advancing the evolution” of Topps’ brands. 

Topps was acquired by investment groups The Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn Partners in 2007. Commenting on Brandstaedter’s promotion, Andy Redman, president and COO of Tornante and chairman of Topps, said the move reflected Brandstaedter’s “deep knowledge of our brands” and “focused leadership”.  

Redman continued: “He’s led Topps’ expansion in confectionery, brought new licenses to sports and entertainment and enabled rapid digital evolution.”

Brandstaedter joined Topps in 2009 as general manager of the global confectionery business. The company said Brandstaedter has been “instrumental” in “strengthening partnerships” with the likes of Major League Baseball and Star Wars, as well as overseeing the development of global soccer and new partnerships. He was also involved in the recent creation of the Topps digital apps business.

Michael Eisner, owner of Tornante, added: “He’s a strong leader at a time when Topps is in a strong position. Mike is unique in his ability to translate vision and strategy into world-class execution, bringing together the teams and creative innovation for continued growth.”

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Prior to joining Topps, Brandstaedter worked at Nabisco and Kraft Foods. 

Brandstaedter replaces Ryan O’Hara, who had served as Topps CEO since 2010. Reasons for O’Hara’s departure were not provided. 

This year, Topps has launched a series of products in the US, including sugar-free gum and a new brand, the dessert-flavoured candy treat Crunchkins.