Hearthside Food Solutions, possibly the country’s biggest contract manufacturer, today (Aug. 4) announced the hiring of Coca-Cola exec Darlene Nicosia as its new CEO. She succeeds Chuck Metzger, who is leaving the post after nearly three years as part of a long-term succession plan.
Most recently, Nicosia was president of Coca-Cola’s Canada & Northeast U.S. Zone. She spent 29 years at Coke, mostly in supply chain roles that included running the company’s global commercial product supply organization and serving as its chief procurement officer. She earlier worked at Kraft and PepsiCo.
Hearthside, a portfolio company of Charlesbank Capital Partners and Partners Group, was built through acquisitions, beginning in 2009. Metzger came with one of those acquisitions, Greencore USA, and he was named CEO late in 2019 to succeed one of the founders, Rich Scalise, who remains chairman.
Hearthside was our Processor of the Year in 2019. It’s probably the country’s largest privately held baker and largest producer of granola and nutrition bars and recently got into frozen, refrigerated and fresh sandwiches and entrees. The company expanded during the Covid pandemic and added six additional bakeries in the past year. We estimate its sales at more than $3 billion.
“The demand for high-quality outsourced manufacturing has continued to grow, as have the exacting requirements of world-class brands,” the company wrote in its news release. “Hearthside believes that future growth belongs to firms that can form preferred partner relationships with leading brands, delivering superior performance and value.”
“With three decades at one of the world’s great consumer brands, I have seen what is possible when people, process, and purpose unite,” said Nicosia. “Hearthside’s organization and culture are poised for transformational performance and growth, and I look forward to leading the company on that valuable mission.”
Headquartered in Downers Grove, Ill., Hearthside Food Solutions has 43 facilities, including four in Europe, with a workforce of 12,000.