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Hain Celestial names Mark Schiller to succeed Irwin Simon as CEO

The company announced in June that Irwin Simon, who founded the organic and natural foods maker, would step down. 

Mark L. Schiller, shown in 2014 when he

Mark L. Schiller, shown in 2014 when he was an executive at Birds Eye, will take the helm at Hain Celestial Group on Nov. 5. Photo Credit: Feature Photo Service for Birds Eye / Johnny Bivera

A veteran food executive from the parent company of the Duncan Hines and Mrs. Butterworth’s brands will take the helm at Hain Celestial Group Inc., a Lake Success-based company that has hit some financial challenges this year.

Mark L. Schiller, 50, has been named president and chief executive officer of Hain Celestial, succeeding founder Irwin D. Simon. The organic and natural foods company announced in June he would be stepping down and become a non-executive chairman.

Hain’s board of directors appointed Schiller effective Nov. 5, and he will be nominated as a director at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders Dec. 5, Hain said in a statement Monday.

“Mark is an incredibly talented executive and I am confident he can lead Hain Celestial in its next phase of growth to generate value for all of our stakeholders,” Simon said in the statement.

Hain did not respond to a request for comment.

Founded in 1993, the publicly traded company owns food brands such as Celestial Seasonings tea, Sensible Portions snacks, and The Greek Gods yogurt.

Schiller has more than 25 years of executive experience in the consumer packaged foods industry, including at Pinnacle Foods Inc., where he had served as chief commercial officer since April 2017, according to his LinkedIn account.

Parsippany, New Jersey-based Pinnacle Foods' brands include Birds Eye, Duncan Hines, Van de Kamps and Mrs. Butterworth’s.

On Friday, Chicago-based Conagra Brands Inc. bought Pinnacle in a deal valued at about $10.9 billion.

At Hain, Schiller will receive an annual base salary of $900,000, according to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.  

On his start date he will receive shares of restricted Hain stock equal to $2 million.

Schiller has a strong track record of “reinvigorating growth and improving margins for many iconic brands,” Andrew R. Heyer, Hain’s lead director, said in the company’s statement.

Hain has had some financial challenges this year, which included reporting a net loss of $69.9 million for the fourth fiscal quarter.  The company attributed the loss to discontinued operations, such as its Hain Pure Protein poultry line. A $78.5 million impairment charge related to Hain Pure Protein contributed to the loss.

In the third quarter, Hain’s net income fell to $12.7 million, or 12 cents a share, compared to $31.3 million, or 30 cents, in the same period last year.

The company blamed the results on increasing freight, commodity and labor costs, among other factors.

Hain’s stock closed up 3.3 percent at $24.96. A year ago the shares were trading at $35.60. 

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