Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ben, Jerry Get Perry to Run the Store Ice-Cream Maker Seeks Marketing Expertise

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ben, Jerry Get Perry to Run the Store Ice-Cream Maker Seeks Marketing Expertise

Article excerpt

Now, it's Ben, Jerry & Perry.

Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. has scooped up another chief executive, Perry Odak, 51, to lead the eclectic ice cream maker. His appointment comes less than two years after the company hired an outside chief executive to introduce a more professional management culture.

Odak has held a number of management jobs, including a year as president of video game maker Atari's consumer products group. He oversaw marketing for Dial soap, advised machine-tool maker Sudbury Inc. and most recently worked for U.S. Repeating Arms Co., a sporting goods company. He replaces Robert Holland Jr., who resigned in October after he accomplished his goals of stabilizing Ben & Jerry's manufacturing operations and bringing more professional management. The company had operated for years under the sometimes chaotic leadership of founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. But Holland also had the difficult task of replacing Cohen as chief executive and acknowledged when he left that had caused some stress. Still, both he and Ben & Jerry's executives said the primary reason for replacing him was the need for someone with the marketing and sales skills that would put the company in a better competitive position with archrival Haagen-Dasz and smaller upstarts. "We feel incredibly lucky to have found a person of Perry's caliber to lead our company at this time," said Cohen, who is chairman. Unlike the high-profile campaign Ben & Jerry's undertook when Cohen stepped aside to make room for a more professional manager, this search was low key. Two years ago, Ben & Jerry's staged a promotional campaign it dubbed the "Yo! I'm Your CEO" contest, in which it asked people to send in essays about why they should succeed the flamboyant Cohen. That resulted in more than 20,000 entries around the world, but it did not produce a chief executive. …

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