Current CMO Judy Ransford is promoted to CEO and interim CFO Harlan Kowitt is hired to a permanent role
CHICAGO, March 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — America’s favorite food gift retailer, Hickory Farms, announced today that Judy Ransford has been named the company’s new chief executive officer and Harlan Kowitt has been named the company’s chief financial officer.
Ransford, who has served as the company’s chief marketing and e-commerce manager since 2016, has been promoted to CEO to replace Diane Pearse who announced her retirement in January. During Ransford’s tenure at Hickory Farms, she was instrumental in transforming the company into a more modern digital brand. She led a complete overhaul of the 71-year-old company, introduced innovative new product offerings aimed at a younger demographic and drove triple-digit growth in the brand’s e-commerce business.
Prior to Hickory Farms, Ransford founded e-commerce fashion brand 5 Junes in 2015, a site created to fill a gap in the tween clothing market. From 2008 to 2014, she held several key leadership positions at Redbox, including VP of Digital Marketing, VP of Customer Programs, and VP of Growth Strategy. Other positions include marketing manager for catalog marketing brand United Ad Label (an RR Donnelley company) and 10 years as a strategy and technology consultant with Marakon Associates, Perot Systems and Accenture.
In his new role as CEO, Ransford aims to continue to grow the company’s presence as an omnichannel retailer and maintain Hickory Farms’ strength in wholesale channels. With the recent addition of Wicked Good Cupcakes, a Shark Tank company acquired by Hickory Farms in 2021, the company is expanding its e-commerce portfolio into the growing giftware market. According to Ransford, “Our evolution as a modern digital gift retailer continues this year with a refresh of the Wicked Good Cupcakes brand and product innovations like wine-plus-cupcake pairings.” The brand refresh is scheduled for later this month.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead the next chapter in Hickory Farms’ transformation,” Ransford said. “As an e-commerce leader since 2016, I have seen the love our customers have for our brand and the exceptional talent and commitment of our team. I couldn’t be more excited to lead this team and continue to accelerate the growth of our business.”
During Diane Pearse’s nearly six years as CEO of Hickory Farms, she led three acquisitions, including Wicked Good Cupcakes, Gourmet Gift Concepts and California Delicious, and transformed the company from a holiday-only tradition into a leading retailer offering carefully selected gifts for any holiday or occasion all year round.
Hickory Farms is also pleased to promote Harlan Kowitt, Interim Chief Financial Officer, who has been a valued member of the team since October, to a permanent position. Prior to Hickory Farms, Harlan held several finance leadership positions at US Foods, Inc., including FP&A, accounting and supply chain finance. His experience also includes time at Unilever in a variety of finance and procurement roles, and in audit at Ernst & Young.
The entire Hickory Farms team would like to congratulate Ransford and Kowitt on these well-deserved promotions and thank Pearse for six wonderful years!
ABOUT HICKORY FARMS, LLC
Since 1951, Hickory Farms LLC has been a leading retailer of food gifts and specialty foods available online, in catalogs and at major mass merchandisers, supermarkets and various seasonal retail outlets in the United States and in Canada. For more information, visit www.HickoryFarms.com or join the conversation on instagram; Facebook; pinterest; ICT Tac or Twitter.
E-mail: [email protected]
E-mail: [email protected]
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