Westport, Conn./Business Wire -- Skeeter Nut Free, a company that provides peanut and tree nut-free snacks, announced the appointment of three senior leadership team members and the closing of $4mm of additional equity financing. The new members are Larry Appel as CEO and a member of the board of directors, Javier Retamar as CFO, and Sharyla Robinson as vice president of Marketing.

“Over the past year, we have made great strides in developing the brand and increasing awareness and we are delighted to have Larry Appel, Javier Retamar and Sharyla Robinson on board as we continue to build our business and bring it to the next level,” said Pete Najarian, co-founder of Skeeter. “These new leadership team members bring a wealth of knowledge and skills that complement our team and will enable us to scale and manage growth.”

Larry Appel has joined Skeeter as CEO and a member of the board of directors. He was most recently the SVP of Retail Operations and COO at Winn-Dixie Stores, where he was responsible for all of the chain’s 480 stores including sales, guest experience and operating profit. Prior to overseeing operations, he served in several executive capacities at Winn-Dixie including SVP-Human Resources, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Prior to Winn-Dixie, Appel served in several capacities with Home Depot including SVP-Legal. Before Home Depot he was in private practice with a focus on corporate finance and business transactions. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Javier Retamar is joining the company as CFO and will work closely with Appel on operations, logistics, business planning, budgeting and financial planning and analysis. He brings 22 years of retail financial planning and analysis experiences, with the last 13 years in grocery retailing at Safeway and Winn-Dixie/Bi-Lo. He has a BS in Finance in Accounting from Florida State University.

Sharyla Robinson joins Skeeter as the VP of Marketing and will oversee all marketing and brand initiatives. She has 13 years of experience in food marketing and brand management, including nine years at M&M/Mars and Campbell’s Soup, with experience managing leading brands such as Prego, V8, 3 Musketeers, Twix and DOVE, as well as new product launches. She also has four years of retail grocery experience which will be critical as Skeeter seeks to optimize its retail presence among different channels and retailers. She has a BA/MBA from Florida A&M University.

“Skeeter Nut Free has had terrific brand acceptance at retail and in our Direct Sales channels, which is largely comprised of schools, camps, movie theaters and more but we have much more to accomplish,” said Dave Leyrer, the other co-Founder of Skeeter. “From our solid foundation, we are now set for further expansion and we’re very fortunate to have a strong and flexible balance sheet along with a stellar group of experienced executives who will execute against a well thought out strategic plan. We are more excited than ever for the significant opportunities ahead of us.”

New CEO Appel added, “I’m extremely pleased to have the opportunity to work with the strong Skeeters’ team and leverage my experience to enhance the Company’s strategic direction. With our recent strategic partnership with JetBlue in place and other strategic initiatives on the horizon, we are uniquely poised for success; however, we believe we are early in the evolution of the expansion as we set new standards for great-tasting, wholesome snacking. The leadership team in place possesses the capabilities and experience to accomplish our goal of building Skeeter into a leading snack brand and look forward to our next phase of growth.”