USA – Utz Brands, one of the largest snack food manufacturers in the United States, is bulking its executive ranks as it embarks on an ambitious expansion drive post public listing.  

The company recently announced a series of appointments to its C-suite, including the appointment of a COO, a new position at the company, a CFO, and a chief people officer.  

Cary Devore, who has been Utz’s CFO since 2019, has been promoted to the newly created role of COO, with his former position being filled by Ajay Kataria who is currently the executive vice president of finance and accounting at Utz.  

Utz also announced Jim Sponaugle, currently the senior vice president of human resources and personnel development, will become EVP and chief people officer.  

The executives will take on their new roles on Oct. 4 and are expected to oversee the company’s ambitious growth plans which include strategic acquisitions throughout the United States. 

The new appointments come to the new roles with decades of experience and have already proved their mettle at the company.  

Devore, for instance, joined Utz in 2016 as a board member and transitioned to a full-time operational role in 2017. 

He worked with Utz CEO Dylan Lissette from 2016 to 2019 where he assisted Utz in completing eight acquisitions, according to the company. 

Kataria, a global consumer goods finance leader with more than 20 years of experience, has also been touted by the company for his prior work in Mergers and Acquisitions. 

“As we evolve as a public company, we will continue to enhance Utz’s leadership team to accelerate our ability to grow and strengthen our organization,” Lissette said in a statement announcing the latest executive appointments.  

“Today’s announcements provide the company with the optimal organizational structure to execute against our strategy, and will best position Utz to deliver on its commitment to be the fastest-growing, pure-play branded salty snack company of scale in the U.S.” 

Utz, a manufacturer of chips, cheese balls, pretzels, and other snacks, has spent much of its existence as a family-owned business with a major presence on the East Coast.  

But the company’s decision last year to merge with a SPAC and go public ushered in a host of changes for the 100-year-old Pennsylvania company. 

The company has been actively expanding its portfolio and bulking up the ranks of executives needed to oversee its growth.   

During the last year alone, Utz purchased the H.K. Anderson peanut butter-filled pretzel brand; Truco Enterprises, a manufacturer of On The Border tortilla chips, salsa and queso; and Chicago snack brand Vitner’s for US$25 million.  

Then in May it bought the largest manufacturer of tortilla chips for On The Border to expand its geographic presence and others in its portfolio throughout the Midwest.   

In June, Utz, named Shane Chambers to the newly created role of EVP and chief growth officer and Mark Schreiber executive vice president of sales and chief customer officer. 

The prior experience the recently promoted executives had working together, and their previous deal-making underscores the likelihood that Utz’s recent acquisition streak is not going to abate anytime soon.    

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