The Mart Group LLC, a Rupert, Idaho-based supplier of fresh and processed potatoes, has named former Lamb Weston executive Jason Allen as its new chief executive officer.
He replaces Brian Hansen, who has served as interim CEO since July 2017 and will continue with Mart Group for a period as chief transition officer, the company said in a news release. The company, which does business as Mart Produce, employs more than 100 people. It was formed in 1980.
Allen has worked in leadership roles for Eagle-based Lamb Weston since 2011, most recently as marketing director of global product management and innovation. He previously worked for Lamb as senior brand manager of retail frozen foods, and for S.C. Johnson & Son Inc. as senior brand manager for Off insect repellants.
“Jason has broad and deep relationships in the potato industry, and has significant business experience and expertise in growing and improving sales and marketing systems,” Board Chairman Duane Grant said in the release. “He is a people- and customer-centered individual with a history of creating highly engaged teams. I believe his understanding of the potato industry, together with his business experience and drive, will take Mart to the next level of growth and success.”
Hansen, in an interview, said that in the transition he will help Allen start to drive Mart Produce toward growth in its traditional business-to-business markets.
Mart will benefit from Allen’s expertise in consumer products, and “as we look to the future that was something that seemed like a good fit,” Hansen said. Mart may look to grow its presence in consumer markets eventually, he said.
Hansen said he aims to work on the leadership transition approximately through September and then return to Hansen Farms, which supplies and has ownership in The Mart Group.
As interim CEO, he was working in a new position the company created as part of a reorganization intended to grow business units beyond traditional levels.
“We were looking for leadership to tie those business units together, but let them focus on growth in their own, individual areas,” Hansen said.
“Jason’s ability to work with many different teams, focus on what their strengths and weaknesses are, and help them identify areas of growth and improvement are what we will look to him for in the future as he guides the whole organization,” he said.