EMERYVILLE, CALIF. — Sally Grimes, former group president, Prepared Foods, at Tyson Foods Inc., is joining Clif Bar & Co. as chief executive officer, effective June 1. Grimes will succeed owners and co-CEOs Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford. Erickson is the founder of Clif Bar.
The company said the transition is occurring at a “pivotal time” for the business, a leader in the energy bar category, as it seeks a new stage of growth.
Grimes joined Tyson as part of the 2014 acquisition of The Hillshire Brands Co. and was named the company’s first president and chief global growth officer. In 2017, she was appointed leader of the Prepared Foods segment as part of a corporate restructuring plan. Tyson announced her plans to leave the company in February 2019.
“Growth has a broader meaning at Clif Bar,” Erickson said. “To us, it’s an opportunity to take care of people, be of service to our communities and help build a more equitable and sustainable food system. Sally’s passion for what makes Clif unique will benefit our company culture and her track record for innovative thinking will help take us to the next level. We are thrilled to have Sally leading us forward.”
A graduate of the University of Chicago Booth School with a master’s degree in business administration, Grimes spent 10 years at Kraft Foods Group as assistant brand manager to the senior category business director until June 2007. For the next five years Grimes was at Newell Brands, where she held the position of global vice president of marketing, responsible of the Sharpie/Papermate brands.
In 2012, she joined Hillshire Brands and was named chief innovation officer and president of the Gourmet Foods Group. The business was acquired by Tyson Foods in 2014, and at Tyson she was chief global growth officer and president, International, and then president of Retail, before her promotion in August 2017 to Group president, Prepared Foods. She left Tyson Foods in January 2020.
“I am honored to join this extraordinary company at a time when people are looking to brands to lead by example, something Clif Bar has been doing for nearly 30 years,” Grimes said. “Clif is in a unique position to not only innovate, but also drive meaningful change in our food system. Their focus on the long game is inspiring and offers endless potential. I can’t wait to get started.”
Clif Bar was established 30 years ago by Erickson. In addition to Clif Bars, the company sells energy bars and other food products under the Luna and Clif Kids brands.
“Clif Bar’s role in business today has become much bigger than the bar,” Crawford said. “Sally is committed to our vision for leading with purpose and to the values that underpin everything we do. We could not be more excited for her to join us.”
Grimes has been a recipient of numerous industry honors, including being named to Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women to Watch” and Fast Company’s “Top 100 Most Creative People in Business.”