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20 Things You Didn't Know About Mars CEO Grant Reid

Grant Reid

Grant Reid is the current CEO of Mars, Incorporated. Mr. Reid is at the helm of one of the largest private businesses in the world. Mars is the parent company of several popular global brands which includes Pedigree pet food, Uncle Ben's rice, Wrigley's chewing gum, and M&Ms, just to name a few. This is a big responsibility, but Mars selected the right man for the job. For those of you who are not familiar with Mr. Reid's curriculum vitae, he brings decades of expertise to the position, plus he's an interesting character as well. To help you become better acquainted with him, here are 20 things you didn't know about Grant Reid, and some of them may inspire you.

1. Mr. Reid was appointed as CEO of Mars in 2014.

He also serves as a member of the Board of Directors. He oversees the operations which bring in revenues in excess of $35 billion annually through product sales in a variety of global categories. He implements the five principles of quality as set by the company to maintain Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency, and Freedom among the over 115,000 Associates of the company throughout the globe.

2. Grant Reid has an impressive track record

In the time that Mr. Reid has served as the CEO of Mars, he has been instrumental in leading some significant changes within the structure and culture of the company. His leadership style calls for a supporting and dynamic environment that is conducive to high performance. A few of the structural changes that he has led include the expedition of several strategic acquisitions. Under his direction, The Mars Petcare division expanded through the acquisition of VCA, which is a leading veterinary care provider. He helped to develop the Mars Wrigley Confectionery division of the business by combining Mars Chocolate and Wrigley Business together. He also leveraged an early buy-out of Berkshire Hathaway's stake in the Wrigley company to accomplish this feat. He knows how to increase efficiency and he's not afraid to roll up his sleeves and do the hard work to make it happen.

3. He worked his way up to CEO

Grant served as the global President of Mars Chocolate before he was named CEO of Mars Incorporated. Under his leadership, the Chocolate division achieved record sales and experienced market growth. It simply just made sense to move him into the CEO position due to his impressive performance in the subsidiary brand. He is what the company was looking for in a leader. He's bold yet methodical, and he knows how to achieve objectives for the business while maintaining the integrity of the company culture.

4. Grant Reid is involved in sustainability efforts for cocoa farmers

An admirable quality of Mr. Reid is the fact that he truly cares about all of the major stakeholders that the company deals with. This includes the cocoa farmers who provide one of the main ingredients used in the creation of chocolate food products. He is committed to championing the efforts of the industry to collaborate together in support of the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative. This plan ensures that farmers are put first on the priority list and that actions are taken to increase the productivity of the crops. The initiative provides for breakthrough research in farming techniques and other factors related to crop production. It also provides training for farmers as well as certifications in key areas of the process. It's good for the farmers, and in turn, beneficial for the industry as a whole. Under Grant Reid's direction, Mars has assumed a leadership position regarding the initiative.

5. Reid is actively involved in addressing social issues

Reid is a CEO who cares about people as well as the enhancement of the company and the industry that he serves. He has a global perspective, yet the man is grounded and well aware of societal issues and how there is a need for the global private sector to connect with civil society leaders to promote sustainability. The key to promoting sustainable development is through the implementation and adherence to good business practices, and it takes a team of committed leaders to establish the pathway to collaborate and develop strategic plans for achieving this objective. Grant serves on the Board of Directors for the Consumer Goods Forum as well as holding membership on the Business & Sustainable Development Commission. Through these two groups, he brings key players together for collaboration.

6. He is a lifelong learner

Another thing that we appreciate about Grant Reid is the fact that he is a lifelong learner. He realizes the value of research, beign exposed to new things and to continue learning throughout a person's lifespan. He fosters an environment for himself and for the employees of Mars, Inc. that provides for ongoing learning and development. He not only applies this to the staff, but also to himself. One of the reasons why he is such a good fit with Mrs is that this is one of the core tenets of the company's culture.

7. Reid has decades of progressively responsible industry experience

Mr. Reid's first job was with the ICL company, now a Fujitsu company, in 1982 through 1984. He was a graduate trainee in the marketing sector based in Reading and Putney. In 1984 he worked at International Network Services for four years in the marketing department. In 1988, he joined Mars Electronics where he served as the Director of Marketing & Sales, until 1995. He spent 7 years in this position. In 2001, he moved to the Mars Incorporated company where he was hired as the executive VP of Sales & Customer Care. He led the sales force and customer care divisions for all segments of Mars Incorporated including the chocolate division, pet food, Uncle Ben's Rice, M&Ms, Snickers, Dove, Whiskas, Pedigree, and others with retail sales reaching more than $7 billion annually. In 2007 he was made Global President of Mars Drinks, a division of Mars Inc until 2009 when he was promoted to the Global President of Mars chocolate. He served in this position bringing in $16 billion in sales annually until he was made CEO of Mars Inc.

8. He was an honors student

Reid attended the University of Stirling from 1978 through 1982. He enrolled in the Management Economics degree where he studied economics, finance, decision theory, and econometrics. He earned his Honors degree in Management Economics in 1982. He pursued his post-graduate studies in Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing from 1984, graduating in 1986.

9. Grant is a commissioner to the Business Commission

Reid holds a highly responsible leadership position within the commission. He shares the values and is busy promoting the best practices method for combining sustainability and massive company growth, and he shows how the two are compatible if done correctly. Grant joins three other CEOs in the representation of the food and agriculture sectors in the Commission. Other CEOs involved represent Olam, Yara, and Unilever.

10. He has a heart for the poor

Innovations in product development can offer solutions that will help to feed the poor people of the world through teh opening of new markets and the provision of employment opportunities. This is a part of the global vision that Reid has in his sights. His viewpoints on these weighty matters are a few of the reasons why he was invited to join the organization as a Commissioner.

11. He's led an effort for improving the lives of farmers

Reid has seen the struggles faced by farmers in particular because of his involvement in the procurement of raw products as ingredients for the products made by Mars, Inc. This is something that he takes very seriously and he doesn't just talk about the woes of the poor farmers and their families. He' s actually doing something about it. Since he took the help at Mars, he set out on a mission to help farmers improve their wages as well as increasing opportunities for education to give them the tools to build a more prosperous future.

12. Reid understands the importance of emotional connection

Those who are educated in marketing principles and brand building learn early in their coursework the necessity of forming an emotional connection with consumers. Establishing some kind of emotional relationship with the customer enhances brand recognition and there are a series of psychological processes accompanied by a positive experience with the product or company. It kicks off a chain of events in the mind that people are not usually even aware of, but it makes them gravitate towards the product and to feel positive about it. Reid shared that consumers are connecting to the vision of the company as well as the products. They like the fact that Mars is involved in somewhat humanitarian efforts and its an even more powerful attractant.

13. He is a forward-thinking leader

Grant Reid runs the company by building and maintaining a firm foundation through the involvement and activities of Mars, Inc. that will have an impact on public opinion for years to come. He holds the firm belief that how business is conducted today will affect the world of tomorrow.

14. He can climb outside of the box

Reid is a professional businessman and a powerful leader and he knows the value of thinking outside of the box. His global perspective shines a different kind of light on the issues at hand for the company. While he is careful to attend to the everyday business of running a mega-company and doing it correctly, he is also looking towards the future because it takes some creative thinking to maintain a forward-looking vision. This includes achieving buy-in from certain stakeholders.

15. When Grant Reid speaks people listen

Reid has a lot to say about business and leadership in general. He has some interesting points of view which are infused in the delivery of leadership and direction to the Mars Inc. company. He understands that it's vital to provide for workers' needs to ensure that the work that they do gives them meaning. He's a master at increasing performance and productivity, and he goes to the core essence of the matter to build the most appropriate culture and environment to stimulate people to give their absolute best. He is quoted as saying "Performance without purpose is meaningless, and purpose without performance isn’t possible. It’s the magic combination."

16. He has some big plans for expansion

Grant Reid has addressed the challenges as well as the opportunities that businesses face today. He couches his observations within the context of the current environmental, social, and fast-moving business landscape of today. He's been making plans for expanding the Mars portfolio as well as building value for consumers through more acquisitions. Bringing in companies that can enhance these goals is a part of the plan as Reid has the goal of doubling sales revenues from $35 billion to 70 billion.

17. Grant Reid maintains adaptability

One of the most important traits of a strong leader is to remain adaptable to changing situations. Since Mars Inc is a consumer goods producer, it's necessary to maintain a spirit of adaptability to changes in consumer demands, customer tastes and preferences and so forth. The world is changing quickly around us and if a business wants to keep up, they will adapt as the world around them changes.

18. He's also concerned with the issue of climate change

Grant Reid is a proactive leader in the business world today. He is concerned with a variety of social issues. Among them is climate change. He maintains a high level of corporate activism and has led Mars Inc to take a stand on the issue of climate change. It's a part of their fundamental business plan to continue to make changes that focus on company growth while simultaneously doing their part to leave a smaller carbon footprint. The company as a whole believes that climate change is a real thing and that we all need to do our parts to help decrease activities that are contributing to the problem.

19. Reid sees the effects of climate change firsthand

Part of the rationale for the push to put farmers first is to address the challenges which in part have been put into motion because of climate change. It's having a real impact on farmers who grow the crops for the ingredients purchased by mars. What affects the farmers also impacts the industry and the businesses within the sector.

Mars CEO Grant Reid on reinvention, future-proofing and the importance of purpose

20. He continues to look towards the future

Grant Reid is active in serving on multiple boards and committees to contribute to the betterment of the food industry as well as to the greater world around us. He is an astute businessman and a savvy leader who sees beyond the needs of the company that he works for, but he understands how to maximize the benefits to the Mars company while improving the lives of other stakeholders in a win-win situation.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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