Wenner family retains significant ownership position; former president of Kellogg’s Jeff Montie named CEO
Wenner Bread Products Inc., a leading manufacturer of nearly 500 varieties of breads and rolls for 20,000 U.S. bakeries, today announced that management, together with Frontenac Company, a Chicago-based private investment firm, has completed a recapitalization of the company. Wenner Bread also announced that Jeff Montie, a seasoned consumer packaged foods executive and former Kellogg Company President, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer. Terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.
Headquartered in Bayport, New York, Wenner Bread delivers high quality frozen, par-baked, and fully baked dough, breads and rolls to food retailers’ in-store bakeries and food service operators across the country. The Wenner Family will continue to be actively involved in operating the business going forward.
“We are very excited to have an outstanding executive like Jeff join our growing family business,” said Richard Wenner, President of Wenner Bread Products. “After meeting Jeff and the Frontenac team, we knew this was a good fit for us. We were seeking a trustworthy steward to help take our business to the next level, and a long-term capital partner to provide some liquidity while allowing us to retain significant ownership. We were drawn to Frontenac’s patient capital approach, strategy of partnering with experienced executives, and history of growing the companies in their portfolio.”
CEO Jeff Montie's career spans 21 years with Kellogg’s, where he served as the President of both its North America and International divisions. Under his guidance and leadership, North American Sales expanded significantly from $6 billion to $8 billion.
“I am thrilled to be taking on such an exciting opportunity as working with the Wenner family, the employees of Wenner Bread and Frontenac to help accelerate business growth,” said Montie. ”Frontenac’s forte is partnering with owner-operated businesses and investing in Wenner Bread made complete sense given the great history and track record of this family business and the many significant opportunities for future growth.”
Frontenac Company is a private investment firm that focuses on investing in family- and operator-owned businesses. The firm works with proven executives to acquire and grow successful mid-sized companies. This approach is built upon partnering with operating executives, and identifying executives with outstanding industry knowledge and past performance, and matching them with high-potential companies. Frontenac Company has extensive past experience in the food sector including investments in Health Valley Foods, Chipotle and Alfalfa’s Market, among others.
“Wenner Bread is well respected in the industry for its long history of delivering quality, authentic products,” said Ron Kuehl, Principal at Frontenac Company. “We look forward to working with Wenner Bread to continue executing its organic growth strategy, while also evaluating potential acquisitions.” Added Walter Florence, Managing Director at Frontenac, “We believe the market is ripe to further expand their robust product offerings while broadening the geographic footprint. We are excited to work alongside Jeff and the Wenner Family to position the company for many more years of success.”
Joining Frontenac in this investment is Lake Pacific Partners and its founder William R. Voss, an industry veteran, who has been appointed to the Board of Directors. Voss previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Health Valley Foods, where he partnered with Frontenac Company to grow the business, which focused on healthy and natural food products. Prior to that, Voss was President and Chief Operating Officer of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation and President and Chief Executive Officer of McCain Foods. Voss currently serves as the Chairman of Nash Finch Company, a Fortune 500 food distributor and as Managing Director of Lake Pacific Partners, a private equity firm with over $150 million under management.