Bill Johnson + Todd Lachman = Sovos Brands

March 16, 2017
Former Heinz, Mars execs lead investor-backed upstart; first purchase is Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods.

What have Bill Johnson and Todd Lachman been up to since leaving their former billion-dollar companies? They’re now chairman and CEO, respectively, of a new private equity-backed firm intent on building a food portfolio. And they made their first purchase.

Sovos Brands is described as a food & beverage-focused operating company formed by investment firm Advent International. Sovos in February acquired frozen food company Michael Angelo’s Gourmet Foods Inc., Austin, Texas. Sales of this family-owned and -run firm, begun in 1983, were estimated by one newspaper at $100 million. Purchase price was not disclosed.

Sovos Brands is headquartered “in the San Francisco Bay area” (the company didn’t specify where) and it “seeks to acquire and build one-of-a-kind brands to establish a scale player in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry,” according to a news release. Chairman is Johnson, who spent 31 years at H.J. Heinz Co., the last few as chairman, CEO and president, until it was acquired in 2013 by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway.

Lachman has a 25-year record in the CPG space as a senior executive at such companies as Mars, Del Monte Foods, H.J. Heinz and Procter & Gamble.

Also a top exec is CFO Larry Bodner, with more than 25 years as an “operationally focused financial executive” at Big Heart Pet Brands, Del Monte Foods, Walt Disney and Procter & Gamble.

“Michael Angelo’s … exemplifies the types of businesses we are looking to acquire in the food and beverage space,” says Lachman. “It is a unique, leading branded player offering delicious food that meets today’s lifestyle and consumer demand for real, clean ingredients. We believe Michael Angelo’s has significant potential for growth through increased awareness, distribution and new product development, and we look forward to working with Michael Angelo and the management team to pursue these opportunities.”

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