Columbus Foods, a portfolio company of Chicago-based Arbor Investments, has added two experienced food executives to its management team with the hirings of Joe Ennen as President and Michael Fox as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Innovation. Arbor Investments acquired Columbus Foods from Endeavour Capital in October 2012 by partnering with the company’s management team and CEO Timothy Fallon. Mr. Fallon has announced that he will be retiring at the end of 2015.
Columbus Foods is a branded manufacturer of retail ready, super premium, artisanal salumi and related deli meat products. Salumi are Italian cured meat products and predominantly made from pork (Editor’s note: “salami” is the plural of “salame” which is a type of “salumi”). Products are sold through supermarkets, club stores and specialty grocery stores across North America. Columbus operates three manufacturing facilities in the San Francisco area occupying more than 270,000 square feet and has the capability to manufacture a wide variety of products such as finocchiona, genoa and calabrese salame. The company was established by the Domenici and Parducci families in 1917 and is headquartered in Hayward, CA (www.columbussalame.com).
The expansion of Columbus’ executive team comes on the heels of the company’s effort to remove nitrates and nitrites, reduce sodium levels and utilize antibiotic-free meats in its line of salami and deli meat products. According to Mr. Ennen the “better-for-you” food category is an area of significant potential growth.
“There’s so much potential to broaden our better-for-you offerings, which already account for twenty percent of our sales,” said Mr. Ennen. “Columbus has all of the ingredients for greatness: an iconic brand, a loyal consumer base, amazing retail customers and world-class production facilities.”
Mr. Ennen, formerly senior vice president in charge of Safeway’s exclusive brand portfolio, assumes the position of president, leading sales, marketing, and human resources. He’ll assume the company’s leadership position when current CEO Timothy Fallon retires at the end of 2015.
Mr. Ennen has more than twenty years of food industry and consumer packaged goods experience. Previously, he was group vice president at PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division. He also managed the Healthy Choice business as vice president and general manager for ConAgra, and spent close to a decade with the Kellogg Company in the US and the UK.
Michael Fox joins as senior vice president of marketing and innovation – a newly created position. Mr. Fox spent close to a decade at PepsiCo, where he led some of the company’s flagship snack brands including Stacy’s, Doritos and Cheetos. Mr. Fox was also a vice president at Safeway, where he was active in the acceleration of its health-and-wellness brands – O Organics, Open Nature and Eating Right.
“With a rich, authentic history, an amazing line of products and a commitment to clean ingredients, Columbus is poised for growth,” said Columbus Foods CEO Timothy Fallon. “Joe and Michael bring a proven track record of innovation and drive that we expect to significantly accelerate our pace of expansion.”
Arbor invests in the food & beverage and related industries. The firm has acquired or invested in over 30 food & beverage companies in North America and currently has $700 million of assets under management across three funds. Arbor was founded in 1999 and is based in Chicago (www.arborpic.com).
© 2015 PEPD • Private Equity’s Leading News Magazine • 3-4-15