NEW YORK, Feb 07, 2005 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. (ANI) announced today that Neil Harrison has joined the company as Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. At the same time the company said that Paul D. Wolff and Scott Kabak, the Chairman/CEO and President respectively since 2000, will remain as members of the Board of Directors but will no longer serve in day-to-day operational roles. Mark Rodriguez, currently General Manager, ANI North America, assumes the position of President of ANI, North America.
"Few chances come along in one's career that allow the opportunity to participate directly in the growth of a dynamic brand like Atkins," said Mr. Harrison. "As a food industry veteran with over 27 years of experience, I have seen very few brands that have revolutionized the food business and spurred a period of unprecedented growth in their segment of the industry to the extent Atkins has. Atkins' better-for-you bars, shakes, mixes and indulgent foods are grounded in the body of scientific evidence that supports the safety and efficacy of the Atkins Nutritional Approach(TM), providing consumers with superior products that make it easier for everyone to control their intake of refined carbohydrates. I am honored to be asked to lead a company based on a brand that for more than three decades has been helping people enjoy healthier lives."
Mr. Harrison, 52, joins ANI from the H.J. Heinz Company, where he was most recently Executive Vice President of the H.J. Heinz Company and President and Chief Executive Officer of Heinz North America. He was responsible for the company's largest business unit, delivering $3.5 billion in sales and managing 10,000 employees, including those at 27 manufacturing facilities. Previously at Heinz, Mr. Harrison was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Heinz Frozen Food Company, managing a $1.5 billion portfolio of products. His experience in consumer packaged goods and nutrition and weight management includes his role from 1997 - 1999 as President and Chief Executive Officer of Weight Watchers Gourmet Food Company. Other CPG experience includes a variety of positions at Miller Brewing Company, PepsiCo, Inc. and General Foods Corporation.
A native of England, Mr. Harrison received a BA Honors in Economics from the University of Reading and holds an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.
Mr. Wolff and Mr. Kabak joined ANI in the summer of 2000 and have overseen the meteoric rise of the business and the widespread global acceptance of controlled-carbohydrate nutrition as a healthy lifestyle. During their tenure the company's sales grew by over 300 percent and currently is recognized as the number one low-carbohydrate food brand worldwide. The Atkins Nutritional Approach(TM) was created by company founder Dr. Robert C. Atkins more than 40 years ago. In 2003, on behalf of Dr. and Mrs. Atkins, Mr. Wolff and Mr. Kabak successfully negotiated the sale of a majority interest in ANI to the private equity firms of Parthenon Capital and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.
Mark Rodriguez joined ANI in March 2004 as Senior Vice President, Bakery & Food Service and a member of the company's executive committee. In June, 2004 he was promoted to General Manager, ANI North American Product Sales and Marketing. Before joining Atkins, Mr. Rodriguez founded Acirca, Inc., a private-equity funded branded organic foods company roll-up, which was sold to NASDAQ-listed Hain-Celestial Group in 2003. From 1991 to 2000 he served as president and CEO of Great Brands of Europe, Inc., and Danone International Brands, Inc., where he helped pioneer the single-serve bottled water market. From 1990 to 1991, Mr. Rodriguez was director of national sales for Evian Waters of France (which became Great Brands of Europe, Inc.). Prior to 1990, Mr. Rodriguez held positions at Cadbury Schweppes plc, Mott's Division and Olympia Brewing.
John Rutherford, co-CEO of Parthenon Capital, the largest shareholder of ANI, said, "These moves further reinforce Atkins' position as the leader in the low-carbohydrate food category. We are grateful for the leadership provided by Paul and Scott in establishing the presence and awareness of low-carbohydrate food products in the marketplace and in anchoring the authority and trust of the Atkins brand. We look forward to the benefits of the deep industry experience of both Neil and Mark, which will contribute to Atkins' further development as a world class company in the consumer packaged goods segment."
About Atkins Nutritionals Inc.
Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. (ANI) was founded by Dr. Robert C. Atkins in 1989 as Complementary Formulations and changed to ANI in 1998. Today, ANI is multimillion dollar enterprise, providing a broad range of convenience foods, supplements, baked goods, snacks and information products designed to serve the millions of Americans who have adopted the controlled carbohydrate lifestyle. ANI's mission is stated as follows: To help people enjoy healthier lives, Atkins will be the pioneer and leader in providing innovative nutritional and information products based on controlled carbohydrate nutritional science and rooted in the Atkins Nutritional Approach. The Atkins Nutritional Approach consists of four phases: Induction, Ongoing Weight Loss, Pre-Maintenance and Lifetime Maintenance and focuses on controlling carbohydrate intake while consuming nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods and incorporating supplements and exercise into one's lifestyle.