Robert Smittcamp appears at the Best of the Valley Restaurant Awards in March. Photo by Edward Smith

published on April 10, 2018 - 1:40 PM
Written by Gabriel Dillard

Fresno’s Lyons Magnus Inc., which recently accepted a “strategic investment” from a private equity firm, announced Robert Smittcamp will step down after more than 40 years as CEO.

A veteran of the Campbell Soup Co. will take the place of Smittcamp, who will continue to serve as the company’s chairman and remain a “significant shareholder of the company,” according to a news release.

Ed Carolan will serve as Lyons Magnus CEO effective May 15. He spent the last 17 years with Campbell Soup, most recently as president of Campbell Fresh — a division that includes products including beverages, salad dressings, carrots, salsa, dips and fresh soup, which combined account for about $1 billion in net sales, according to a Campbell press release.

“After more than 40 years of leading Lyons Magnus, this is the right time to transition the Company to its next generation of leadership,” Smittcamp stated. “I am extremely proud of all that we have accomplished and I look forward to continuing to serve as Chairman. We conducted an extensive search for my successor and we could not have found a better choice to lead the Company than Ed Carolan. He brings strategic expertise and deep experience as a hands-on operator. I am confident that his team-oriented approach to leadership and fresh perspectives on new business channels will enable Lyons Magnus to capture even greater opportunities in the foodservice sector. I look forward to working closely with him as we move through this transition and continue to grow the Company.”

With Campbell Fresh, Carolan was responsible for building the company’s scale and accelerating growth in packaged fresh categories, as well as leading brand launches in U.S. and Europe.

San Mateo firm Paine Schwartz Partners has been an aggressive equity partner with Smittcamp, starting last year with an investment in Wawona Packing Co. — the peach farming and packing operation founded by Bob’s father Earl Smittcamp 70 years ago.

In November, Paine Schwartz announced another investment in Lyons Magnus, a producer of foodservice products including fruit toppings, sauces, juices and syrups.

Kevin Schwartz, CEO and a founding partner of Paine Schwartz said, “On behalf of the Paine Schwartz team, I want to commend Bob for his success building and leading Lyons Magnus throughout his amazing career and thank him for his ongoing partnership. We look forward to working together to further grow and develop Lyons Magnus and extend its leadership position in innovative foodservice solutions. Ed’s super track record of delivering strong growth, developing industry-leading products and executing value creating strategic initiatives makes him a terrific addition to the Lyons Magnus team.”

Prior to working at Campbell, Ed Carolan spent five years with Procter & Gamble, both in the U.S. and internationally. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a minor in French from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. degree from Harvard Business School.

“It is a great privilege to work alongside Bob, the Lyons Magnus leadership team, and the team at Paine Schwartz Partners and to expand on the Company’s heritage and strong market positions,” said Carolan. “I appreciate the role the Company’s employees have played in growing Lyons Magnus over the years, and I am excited about working with them to execute on the Company’s next phase of growth. Together, we will identify and capture new opportunities at Lyons Magnus and bring customers the high quality and innovative products they have come to expect.”

Related stories:

At $10M, Bob Smittcamp commits Community Medical’s largest cash gift

Equity firm doubles down on Smittcamps with Lyons deal

Venture capital firm invests big in Wawona Packing

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