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Spend a few minutes with Masterfoods' newly promoted executives--Paul Michaels, Mars Inc.'s Americas regional president, and Bob Gamgort, president of Masterfoods USA--and it's hard not to come away a bit overwhelmed.
The two marketing moguls not only share a wonderful chemistry between themselves, tag-teaming from one comment to another about global execution, retailing and power branding without so much as a pause, they do so with a level of enthusiasm and earnestness that's beguiling and refreshing. Of course, such characteristics reaffirm their fast-track ascendancy in the world of consumer packaged goods. (Michaels worked for Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson prior to joining the company in 1993; Gamgort spent 11 years with Kraft Foods as well as several years with Major League Baseball Properties before coming on board in 1998.)
And while much of that energy and elan come from their own individual talents as well as a shared mutual respect, a sizable portion of that spark stems from being able to operate within a privately held environment, free of quarterly quotas scrutinized by analysts focused on dissecting corporate dividends but not direction.
"Don't think that we aren't pressured to develop the business," Michaels asserts. "But as a privately held company, we can invest in the long-term payout. We don't have to manage the business for short-term gains. That gives us a core advantage."
That advantage takes on greater proportions when it's extended worldwide.
"You have to remember that Mars is a global business," he continues. "It's not just a U.S. business that has multinational parts. We run it globally and, as a result, we think globally."
It doesn't take long for Michaels to accent his point. "Take M&M's. It truly is a global brand--the largest confectionery brand with more than $2 billion in sales across the world. And that's how we run our strategies, always on the lookout for best practices across the globe."
Those best practices, many of which come from the United States, form the foundation for Masterfoods' snacking business.
"Our core is in …