MCLEAN, VA. — Mars Inc., announced June 22 that Poul Weihrauch, global president of Mars Petcare, has been appointed chief executive officer of Mars. The appointment follows the retirement of Mars’ current Chief Executive Officer Grant F. Reid. Weihrauch will assume the role at the end of September 2022.

According to Mars, Reid informed the board of his retirement 18 months ago and has since aided in the search for a new CEO.

Since 2014, Reid has served as the company’s CEO, during which he aided in sustainable growth, ramped up the company’s digital capabilities, expanded its brands and helped the company enter newer markets, including veterinary health, pet services and others. According to Mars, Reid’s leadership has resulted in sales growth of more than 50% to almost $45 billion and the growth of an employee base to more than 140,000.

“While he is too modest to admit it, our significant transformation and record growth as a business would not have happened without Grant’s leadership,” said Frank Mars, chair of Mars’ board. “He has visibly lived our principles and embedded purpose at the heart of our business strategy. The Mars family are tremendously grateful for his dedication and service.  

“He has been a tower of strength, helping us charter new courses and pushing us beyond what we thought possible,” Mars added. “He’s represented Mars on the global stage, particularly around climate change, and he has ensured that we are known for acting, not just making commitments. We will greatly miss his principled leadership, his highly collaborative and engaging style and — not least — his dry Scottish sense of humor.”

Grant F. Reid, current chief executive officer of Mars Inc.Grant F. Reid, current chief executive officer of Mars Inc. (Source: Mars)

Reid will remain with Mars until the end of the year and will serve as a representative of the company at several upcoming events, including UNGA/Climate Week and COP27.

“It has been a privilege to lead the Mars team and work closely with the Mars family,” Reid said. “We have built on our core strengths and moved into new areas, setting the business up for a brilliant, sustainable future. But the biggest difference we make starts with our 140,000 associates, the hundreds of communities we operate in, and the billions of consumers we serve.

“I’m proud that, in the face of challenges such as a global pandemic, we have never lost sight of our strategic path or our ambition to help create the world we want tomorrow — and to drive both purpose and performance,” he added. “Whether that be challenging ourselves to deliver a truly net zero supply chain, ensuring our most impactful raw materials like palm are deforestation-free, or innovating with packaging solutions to help ensure our products do not turn up as waste.”

To ensure a smooth transition and maintain Mars’ growth, Reid has been working with Weihrauch for several months.

“Having worked closely with Poul for many years I consider him and his family to be close friends,” Reid said. “I am very excited about the future of the business under his leadership and congratulate him on his appointment as chief executive officer of this incredible company.”

Weihrauch originally joined Mars in 2000 as European brand leader for Snickers and was appointed president of global pet care in 2014, during which he oversaw the company’s growth and aided in the diversification of its pet business into veterinary health, diagnostics, data and platforms.

“I have known Poul for 22 years, working closely with him for the last 10, and I know that he will be a wonderful leader for the next stage of our evolution,” Mars said. “He is known for his inspirational and inclusive leadership style, for growing businesses and renovating brands and for his deep commitment to associate engagement and development. Following Grant’s decision, the board and I are grateful to be able to appoint such a strong Mars leader and are confident that Poul will both protect our legacy, while leading us into what promises to be a bright and exciting future.”

During his career at Mars Petcare, Weihrauch has doubled the size of the company and developed several of its sustainability initiatives.

“I am honored and humbled by this opportunity to serve the organization and our 140,000 Mars associates,” Weihrauch said. “This is an incredible company which has consistently demonstrated that doing good is good business. It is that relationship that will ensure we keep delivering sustainable growth and performance. We live in challenging times but I’m an optimist and I believe in the power of business to have a positive impact and, in particular, the freedom we have at Mars to do the right thing for our Associates and the world we operate in.

“I thank Grant for his friendship, counsel, and collaboration over the years, and I congratulate him on his exceptional career at Mars,” he added. “Many thanks to the Board of Directors as well for entrusting me to lead the next chapter in our evolution and growth.”

In conjunction with Weihrauch’s appointment, Mars also announced that Loci Moutault, president of Royal Canin, has been appointed to president of Mars Global Petcare and Cecile Coutens, president of Royal Canin North America, will be appointed to president of Global Royal Canin.