McCormick & Co. names insider Brendan Foley as CEO

McCormick Co names insider Brendan Foley as CEO.jpg

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Dive Brief:

  • McCormick & Co. named Brendan Foley as its new CEO, the flavor and spices company said in a statement. He will take over the top post from Lawrence Kurzius on Sept. 1. Kurzius will continue to serve as executive chairman.
  • Foley, who joined the Maryland-based company in 2014, served most recently as president and COO where he had oversight of McCormick’s supply chain and commercial businesses globally.
  • The change in leadership at McCormick marks the latest disruption in the C-suite among food and beverage companies. It comes at the same time as businesses grapple with changing consumer tastes and broader economic challenges.

Dive Insight:

After serving as chairman and CEO for more than seven years, Kurzius is stepping aside. While the change at the top can be disruptive to a company, McCormick should have a seamless transition as it will be run by an insider who has spent nearly a decade at the company and worked in lock-step with Kurzius.

Under Kurzius’ watch, McCormick, which makes Old Bay, Lawry’s, Zatarain’s and its namesake products, sales grew more than 50% as the company was a major beneficiary of consumer demand to eat better without losing flavor. It also thrived during the pandemic as consumers stocked up and spent more time cooking at home.

McCormick & Co., Brendan Foley

Optional Caption

Courtesy of McCormick & Co.


In recent years, McCormick has expanded its reach into condiments through acquisitions. In 2017, it purchased Reckitt Benckiser’s Food Division for $4.2 billion, adding the iconic French’s mustard and Frank’s RedHot brands to the fold. Three years later it purchased hot sauce maker Cholula for $800 million.

McCormick said Kurzius and Foley have worked closely together on strategic initiatives responsible for growing the company. Foley had been tasked with integrating McCormick’s recent acquisitions along with the realignment of the company’s Americas region to deliver scale, lower costs and increase growth and innovation. With Kurzius sticking around as chairman, Foley will have a valuable ally and partner to tap into for insight.

In June 2022, Foley became president and had responsibility for the company’s global operations.

Foley is no stranger to the CPG space. Before joining McCormick, he worked at H.J. Heinz for fifteen years, including serving as president for its North America Zone, and before that he had a stint at General Mills. His insight into consumer trends and eating habits during more than two decades should serve him well running McCormick. It also should help him navigate challenges such as inflation and supply chain disruptions impacting other companies.

Given McCormick’s recent activity in M&A, in which Foley was active, he’s likely to have a deep understanding of where the firm needs to go next and what deals could help get it there.

“With his passion for McCormick and elevation of our commercial growth plans and execution, Brendan has a proven track record of delivering results as a leader,” Kurzius said in a statement. “He understands the importance of continuing our growth.”

The CEO change at McCormick is the latest in a series of corporate turnover in food and beverage companies across the globe. Unliever, Hain Celestial, Jones Soda and chocolate maker Barry Callebaut are just a few of the companies that have announced changes to their top post in recent months.

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