Montreal, Quebec-based Van Houtte, one of the US’ largest gourmet coffee roasters, marketers and distributors, has announced the appointment of Marc G. Fortier to the position of president and CEO, effective 6 June 2002.

The board of directors explained that Fortier will succeed Paul-Andre Guillotte, who a few months ago announced his intention to withdraw from the day-to-day management of Van Houtte. Guillotte, who will become chairman on 6 June, will maintain approximately the same equity interest in the company as before. The current chairman, Pierre Van Houtte, will become honorary chairman of the board.

Fortier, 56, brings more than 25 years’ management experience to Van Houtte, acquired in industrial and commercial enterprises in Canada and abroad. Until just recently, Fortier managed the global activities of the Energy and Services division of the French-owned company Air Liquide from Paris and Houston. Prior to this position, Fortier was the CEO of Air Liquide Canada.

“Marc Fortier possesses the leadership qualities Van Houtte requires to grow in line with our strategy,” stated Guillotte. “Fortier is recognised as a man with a clear vision who gets things done. His experience, both in acquisitions and in managing multi-site operations, is invaluable given Van Houtte’s US expansion strategy.”

Fortier is excited about his new position: “For the past several years, Van Houtte’s growth and financial performance has been impressive. It is a strong company with a solid management team and I am looking forward to developing the company with them.”