January 31, 2020
MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich., January 31, 2020 – Kar’s Nuts, a manufacturer of premium and better-for-you snacking products under the Kar’s®, Second Nature® and Sanders Fine Chocolatiers® brands, today announced the appointment Mike Illum as Chief Customer Officer.
Illum brings to Kar’s Nuts more than 25 years of senior-level sales experience with consumer-packaged goods companies. Most recently, he served as Executive Vice President of Sales, Marketing & R&D at Kettle Cuisine, a maker of fresh, premium soups, sauces, entrees, and other products for foodservice operators and grocery retailers, where he helped drive sales growth 35% just over two years. Mr. Illum previously served in sales leadership roles at Campbell Soup Company, where he was SVP Sales and Chief Customer Officer at Bolthouse Farms, as well as Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. and Kraft.
“We’re thrilled to have Mike Illum join our team in an essential role as we execute Kar’s accelerated growth plans,” said Vic Mehren, CEO of Kar’s Nuts. “Mike is a proven leader with deep experience collaborating closely with customers to bring innovative products to the market. His expertise will be important as we continue to establish Kar’s as a category-leading business driven by innovative products in better-for-you snacking and premium treats.”
“The Kar’s Nuts team has been building upon an incredible brand with loyal customers by investing in growth, innovation and adjacent product categories, and I could not be more excited about joining at this time,” Mr. Illum said. “There are tremendous opportunities to capture by partnering closely with customers and bringing new ideas to help grow their categories.”
Kar’s Nuts is a leading U.S. manufacturer of premium and better-for-you snacking and treat products under the Kar’s®, Second Nature® and Sanders Fine Chocolatiers® brands. Kar’s® and Second Nature® are two of the best-selling trail mix brands in the nation, including the #1 selling Kar’s Sweet ‘n Salty Mix. In 2018, the company acquired Sanders Fine Chocolatiers®, which produces premium confections, including its renowned Sea Salt Caramels, artisanal chocolates, baked goods, dessert toppings and ice cream, in addition to having retail locations in Michigan. Kar’s has been changing the way people snack for nearly a century, growing from humble beginnings in 1933 roasting and selling nuts outside Detroit’s Tiger Stadium. For more information on Kar’s Nuts and Sanders, please visit www.karsnuts.com and www.sanderscandy.com.
Vice President of Marketing
October 22, 2019
MADISON HEIGHTS, MICH. (October 22, 2019) – Kar’s Nuts, a manufacturer of premium and better-for-you snacking products under the Kar’s®, Second Nature® and Sanders Fine Chocolatiers® brands, today announced the appointment of Victor Mehren as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Mehren will lead a company that has invested significantly in growth, innovation, and superior customer service, as well as adjacent product categories through its acquisition of Sanders in late 2018. Nick Nicolay, Kar’s Nuts President and CEO since 1995, will remain actively involved in the company as its Chairman.
“We recruited Vic to lead Kar’s Nuts’ next phase of growth and innovation,” said Mr. Nicolay. “Vic is a proven consumer packaged goods executive with over 26 years of experience successfully leading and growing innovative snacking and confectionary brands, with a focus on strong sales, marketing, innovation and brand-building strategies.”
Before joining Kar’s Nuts, Mr. Mehren spent 17 years at Mars Wrigley Confectionary, where he most recently served as the Chief Operating Officer, U.S. and was responsible for operations and integration of the newly merged Mars and Wrigley business units. He previously served as General Manager of Wrigley, General Manager of Mars Ice Cream & Substantial Snacks and General Manager of Mars Chocolate Canada, delivering significant growth in all three units. Earlier in Mr. Mehren’s career, he held several senior sales and marketing positions with Wrigley, PowerBar and other companies.
“I am excited to join the Kar’s Nuts team, and look forward to leading a category-leading business with strong tailwinds and exciting innovation capabilities,” said Mr. Mehren. “Kar’s Nuts has an incredible brand and has been a snacking staple for over 85 years. I appreciate the leadership Nick and the Kar’s Nuts team exhibited to get to this point, and am honored to be a part of the next phase of growth alongside Palladium.”
Kar’s Nuts has been changing the way people snack for nearly a century. Since it was founded by Sue Kar in 1933, who sold home-roasted peanuts outside Tiger Stadium in Detroit, the company’s brands Kar’s® and Second Nature® have become two of the best-selling trail mix brands in the country, including the #1 selling Kar’s Sweet ‘n Salty Mix. In 2018, the company acquired Sanders Fine Chocolatiers®, which was founded in Detroit in 1875 and produces premium confections, including the company’s renowned Sea Salt Caramels, artisanal chocolates, baked goods, dessert toppings and ice cream, in addition to having retail locations in Michigan. For more information on Kar’s Nuts and Sanders, please visit www.karsnuts.com and www.sanderscandy.com.
Palladium is a middle market private equity firm with approximately $3 billion of assets under management. The firm seeks to acquire and grow companies in partnership with founders and
experienced management teams by providing capital, strategic guidance and operational oversight. Since its founding in 1997, Palladium has made 33 platform investments and over 130 add-on acquisitions. A private equity fund affiliated with Palladium Equity Partners, LLC has been invested in Kar’s Nuts since March 2017. For more information on Palladium Equity Partners, please visit www.palladiumequity.com>.