On the Street -- The Pinnacle at Pinnacle

July 22/Food & Farm Week --  The board of directors of Pinnacle Foods Group LLC announced the appointment of Robert J. "Bob" Gamgort as its chief executive officer, effective immediately. Gamgort most recently served as North American president for Mars Incorporated. He replaces Jeffrey Ansell, who is leaving the company to pursue other interests. Concurrent with this change, Roger K. Deromedi, who currently serves as executive chairman of the board of directors, will become non-executive chairman.

"The board is delighted that Bob has joined the company to further accelerate its growth and capture the full potential of its iconic brands. Bob is one of the most talented and respected executives in the food industry, with a demonstrated ability to lead and innovate," said Deromedi.

"The Blackstone Group is privileged to have an executive with Bob's talent and experience to lead the company. We look forward to working with Bob to continue the strong recent performance at Pinnacle and to build the company into a larger branded foods company via organic growth and acquisitions," said Prakash Melwani, senior managing director at Blackstone, Pinnacle's parent company.

"I am excited to partner with Blackstone, Roger and the Pinnacle Team to build on Pinnacle's strong momentum and deliver our collective vision of a bigger, stronger, faster growing company," said Gamgort.

From 2002 through 2009, Mr. Gamgort served as North American president for Mars Incorporated, where he managed the company's $8 billion revenue portfolio of confectionery, main meal, pet food and retail businesses in North America. Gamgort joined Mars in 1998, initially serving as vice president of Marketing for M&M/Mars and then as general manager of its chocolate unit. Prior to joining Mars, Gamgort served as president of Major League Baseball Properties. Gamgort began his career at Kraft Foods, where he served in key marketing, sales, corporate strategy and general management roles. He holds a MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and a BA in Economics from Bucknell University

Regarding Ansell, Deromedi said, "We appreciate that Jeff remained as Pinnacle's CEO for over two years after the company was purchased by the Blackstone Group. He brought a strong consumer focus to the business that will benefit Pinnacle in the years ahead. Importantly, he successfully navigated the business through a challenging and dynamic period in the food industry, and assembled a strong management team that will continue to provide leadership to the company. We thank him for his dedication and hard work and wish him well in the future."

From the August 3, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition