Mars CEO Grant F. Reid will retire from Mars after more than eight years at the helm and 34 years with the business.

He will be succeeded by Poul Weihrauch, current Global President at Mars Petcare, who will step in as CEO from the end of September.

Under Reid’s leadership, Mars has seen unprecedented growth and transformation combined with a focus on sustainability and purpose, and significant expansion into newer areas including veterinary health services.

Reid, who will remain with Mars until the end of the year, informed the Board of his decision to leave 18 months ago and has worked with the Board to ensure a smooth and orderly succession. 

Mars Board Chair, Frank Mars paid tribute to Reid’s “extraordinary” legacy, heralding his leadership on climate action and sustainability on the global stage.

During his tenure as CEO, Reid has been instrumental in fusing performance with purpose, delivering sustainable growth, ramping up Mars’ digital capabilities, building its iconic brands, and expanding into newer territories like veterinary health, pet services and healthy snacking.

As a result, sales have grown by more than 50 per cent to nearly $45bn under Reid’s tenure and the number of employees have increased from 60,000 to more than 140,000. 

“While he is too modest to admit it, our significant transformation and record growth as a business would not have happened without Grant’s leadership. He has visibly lived our principles and embedded purpose at the heart of our business strategy. The Mars Family are tremendously grateful for his dedication and service,” said Frank Mars.

“He has been a tower of strength, helping us charter new courses and pushing us beyond what we thought possible. He’s represented Mars on the global stage, particularly around climate change, and he has ensured that we are known for acting, not just making commitments. 

“We will greatly miss his principled leadership, his highly collaborative and engaging style and – not least – his dry Scottish sense of humour.”

Reid leaves behind a powerful legacy and said that it’s been a privilege to lead the Mars team and work closely with the Mars family.

“We have built on our core strengths and moved into new areas, setting the business up for a brilliant, sustainable future. But the biggest difference we make starts with our 140,000 Associates, the hundreds of communities we operate in, and the billions of consumers we serve. I’m proud that, in the face of challenges such as a global pandemic, we have never lost sight of our strategic path or our ambition to help create the world we want tomorrow – and to drive both purpose and performance. Whether that be challenging ourselves to deliver a truly net zero supply chain, ensuring our most impactful raw materials like palm are deforestation-free, or innovating with packaging solutions to help ensure our products do not turn up as waste.”

He added: “Having worked closely with Poul for many years I consider him and his family to be close friends. I am very excited about the future of the business under his leadership and congratulate him on his appointment as CEO of this incredible company.”                

Reid and Weihrauch have been working together closely for several months to ensure a smooth and orderly succession that maintains the considerable business momentum. Reid will continue to represent Mars until the end of 2022, including at critical events such as UNGA/Climate Week, COP27 and more.

From next year onwards, Reid will devote more time to following his passion as a champion for climate action, the sustainability agenda, and the broader role for business in society.      

Weihrauch has worked in many parts of the Mars business since joining in 2000 as European brand leader for Snickers. Having led the Mars Food business, he became President of Global Petcare in 2014 and, during that time, has overseen significant growth and diversification into veterinary health, diagnostics, data, and platforms, doubling the size of the business. Weihrauch has also driven significant focus and investment into the Petcare sustainability agenda.        

Frank Mars said: “I have known Poul for 22 years, working closely with him for the last 10, and I know that he will be a wonderful leader for the next stage of our evolution. 

“He is known for his inspirational and inclusive leadership style, for growing businesses and renovating brands and for his deep commitment to Associate engagement and development. Following Grant’s decision, the Board and I are grateful to be able to appoint such a strong Mars leader and are confident that Poul will both protect our legacy, while leading us into what promises to be a bright and exciting future.”

Weihrauch said that he is both honoured and humbled to be chosen to lead the organisation into the future.

“This is an incredible company which has consistently demonstrated that doing good is good business. It is that relationship that will ensure we keep delivering sustainable growth and performance.  

“We live in challenging times but I’m an optimist and I believe in the power of business to have a positive impact and, in particular, the freedom we have at Mars to do the right thing for our Associates and the world we operate in.”

He added: “I thank Grant for his friendship, counsel, and collaboration over the years, and I congratulate him on his exceptional career at Mars. Many thanks to the Board of Directors as well for entrusting me to lead the next chapter in our evolution and growth.”