Richard Smith, co-chairman and co-CEO of CoolBrands International Inc., has died, the international maker of frozen desserts announced. A company spokesman said Smith died at a hospital outside New York City after an operation for an undisclosed ailment.
CoolBrands said the board has named David Stein, previously president and co-chief executive officer, to become sole CEO and co-chairman.
The company also said its management agreement with Calip Dairies Inc., under which Calip provided Smith's full-time management and other services, has been terminated effective immediately.
Smith was chairman of Calip Dairies Inc., which distributes CoolBrands' products in New York. The distribution arrangement is not affected by Smith's death, the company said.
Smith founded ice-cream maker Frusen Gladje in 1980 and sold it to Kraft Foods Inc. in 1985.
"Everyone at CoolBrands is deeply saddened at Richard Smith's tragic passing," stated Michael Serruya, co-founder of the company and co-chairman of the board. Richard was a visionary in our industry, and many of our company's achievements are a testament to Richard's leadership and energy."
Serruya added that Stein, president and co-CEO since 2000, worked side-by-side with Smith and "is ideally equipped to drive our business forward."
Both men joined CoolBrands in its 1998 acquisition of Integrated Brands, which owned the Tropicana, Yoplait and Swensen's brands. Other products in the CoolBrands line include Eskimo Pie and Welch's.