Passport Food Group Names Michael Axelrod New CEO
Passport Food Group, a leading manufacturer and distributor of internationally flavored foods to foodservice and retail channels across North America, today announced that longtime strategic operations executive Michael Axelrod has been named the company’s new CEO.
Mr. Axelrod brings nearly three decades of experience in and beyond the retail and foodservice industry. He most recently served as a President at TreeHouse Foods, where he oversaw the company’s $1.5 billion Condiments division. He has also held senior management roles at Kraft, McCain Foods, Whirlpool and Pactiv.
“I am looking forward to working alongside the talented team at Passport to continue the company’s amazing growth trajectory,” says Mr. Axelrod. “The company has a fascinating history—from its humble beginnings as local supplier to Asian restaurants to becoming one of North America’s largest distributors of on-trend, innovative cuisines of all types, encompassing both restaurants and retail establishments. I am honored to be a part of this story and am eager to help the company expand its brand and market share across a number of channels.”
“Mike was the ideal candidate to lead Passport into a new phase of growth,” says Heather Smith Thorne, Managing Director at Swander Pace Capital, which acquired Passport Food Group in 2017. “From manufacturing to marketing and distribution, he has a long, successful track record helping companies contain costs, achieve significant growth, and realize greater efficiencies at all levels of the organization.”
She adds, “Mike has a deep understanding of the consumer space and has helped many companies profitably adjust their strategies to accommodate changing customer tastes and preferences.”
The appointment of Mr. Axelrod is the latest in a series of additions to Passport’s management team: Terra Jacobs, CFO; Mark Thompson, COO; and Peggy Moll, Head of Human Resources.
Following its purchase last April by Swander Pace, the company aspires to seize on explosive category growth in on-trend international foods, especially among natural, organic and clean-label segments.
Mr. Axelrod succeeds John Signorino, who successfully guided the company through the acquisition by Swander Pace Capital.