“Revenue $33 B As of December 2013
At a Glance
- Industry: Food, Drink & Tobacco
- Founded: 1911
- Country: United States
- CEO: Paul S Michaels
- CFO: Reuben Gamoran
- Website: www.mars.com
- Employees: 72,000
- Fiscal Year End: Dec 31, 2012
- Sales: $33 B
- Headquarters: McLean, VA
#5 America’s Largest Private Companies
Founded in 1911, Mars, Incorporated is one of the largest food companies in the world. The company operates six business segments: Chocolate, Petcare, Food, Wrigley, Drinks and Symbioscience. The chocolate division has 29 brands including Milky Way, Snickers, M&Ms and Twix. The company is still owned by the Mars family and employs 72,0000 people in over 70 countries.”
Mars was founded by Frank C. Mars and is a company that is known for the confectionery items that it creates, such as Milky Way, M&M’s, Twix, Skittles, Snickers, and the Mars bar. They also produce non-confectionery snacks, such as Combos, and other foods, including Uncle Ben’s Rice and pasta sauce brand Dolmio, as well as pet foods, such as Whiskas and Pedigree brands.
Orbit gum is among the most popular brands, managed by the Mars subsidiary brand Wrigley. During World War II, Wrigley was selling their eponymous gum only to soldiers, while Orbit was the gum made available to the public. Though abandoned shortly after the war, about 60 years later Orbit made a comeback in America during the gum craze.
Frank C. Mars, whose mother taught him to hand dip candy, sold candy by age 19. The Mars Candy Factory he started in 1911 with Ethel V. Mars, his second wife, in Tacoma, Washington. This factory produced and sold fresh candy wholesale, but ultimately, the venture failed. By 1920, Frank Mars had returned to his home state, Minnesota, where the earliest incarnation of the present day Mars was founded that year as Mar-O-Bar Co. in Minneapolis and later incorporated there as Mars, Incorporated. Forrest Mars, son of Frank Mars and his first wife, who was also named Ethel, was inspired by a popular type of milkshake in 1923, to introduce the Milky Way bar, advertised as a “chocolate Malted Milk in a candy bar”, and became the best-selling candy bar. In 1929, Frank moved the company to Chicago, Illinois and started full production in a plant which still exists today. In 1932, Forrest started Mars Limited in the United Kingdom, and launched the Mars bar.
Mars is still a family-owned business, belonging to the Mars family. The company is famous for its secrecy. A 1993 Washington Post Magazine article was a rare raising of the veil, as the reporter was able to see the “M”s being applied to the M&M’s, something that “no out-sider had ever before been invited to observe.” In 1999, for example, the company did not acknowledge that Forrest Mars, Sr., had died or that he had worked for the company.
The company published its Principles in Action communication in September 2011. This communication outlines the history of Mars, its legacy as a business committed to its Five Principles and the company’s goal of putting its Principles into action to make a difference to people and the planet through performance. Encompassing themes of Health and Nutrition, Supply Chain, Operations, Products and Working at Mars, the Principles in Action communication outlines Mars Incorporated’s targets, progress, and ongoing challenges. It also describes its businesses – including Petcare, Chocolate, Wrigley, Food, Drinks and Symbioscience.
Mars, Incorporated has developed a reputation across its leading markets to be excellent training grounds for managers. In the United Kingdom for instance, many CEOs of large companies learned their trade at Mars, Inc., including former Mars executives Allan Leighton and Justin King, the former appointed CEO of the supermarket chain Asda and then the British postal service Royal Mail, with the latter presently the CEO of the retailer J Sainsbury plc. Recently, the company caught on to that and re-branded their employer brand to “Mars — The Ultimate Business School”.
Moving into the fourth generation of family ownership, the company recently passed from family leadership into non-family leadership; however, the business is still owned by the family. The global CEO of Mars, Inc. is Paul Michaels. Michaels is part of a new group of non-family management that has taken over since the retirement of John and Forrest Mars, Jr.. The family now oversees the business as a council or board of directors.
In the United States the company has manufacturing facilities in Hackettstown, New Jersey; Albany, Georgia; Burr Ridge, Chicago and Mattoon, Illinois; Cleveland, Tennessee;Columbia, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania; Greenville, Mississippi; Greenville and Waco, Texas; Henderson and Reno, Nevada; Vernon, California;Fort Smith, Arkansas; Joplin, Missouri; Miami, Oklahoma; and Galena, Kansas. Their Canadian facilities are located in Bolton and Newmarket, Ontario.
Mars’s purchase of Doane Petcare Company in June 2007 significantly increased its position in the U.S. dry pet food category. In addition to these businesses, Mars also operates a chain of premium chocolate shops across the United States called Ethel M Chocolates. These shops are an outgrowth of the Ethel M premium chocolate business that Forrest Mars started in Las Vegas in 1980 when he became bored with retirement.
On April 28, 2008, Mars, Incorporated, together with Berkshire Hathaway Incorporated, announced the buyout of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, the world’s largest chewing gum producer, for $23 billion in an all-cash deal. The two companies together are expected to generate sales in excess of $27 billion.
The company spent more than $1.8 million on lobbying during 2008, almost all of it at Patton Boggs, where it has long been one of the largest lobbying clients. Mars also spent $10,000 at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. In 2009, Mars also hired Ernst & Young to lobby on corporate and international tax issues, including issues related to tax changes proposed by the Obama administration. The company spent another $1,655,000 that year.
Until sold in June 2006, a division of Mars known as Mars Electronics International produced, among other products, coin mechanisms such as those used in vending machines. MEI also manufactured bill validators, which were among the most common bill validators found in the US.
A further Mars business — Four Square — utilize those products formerly made at MEI in their vending machines. Four Square comprises the Flavia and Klix brands. Flaviaoperates within the US, UK and Japanese markets, while Klix operates within UK, Germany and France.
In 2007, Mars undertook a major rebranding operation which saw, among other global changes, Four Square being renamed to Mars Drinks, the pet food division (formerly part of Masterfoods) being renamed to Mars Petfoods and Masterfoods itself (the largest division of Mars, Incorporated) being renamed to Mars Snacks.
In 2014, Mars opened a new $270 million chocolate plant in Topeka, Kansas, the first new plant in the USA in 35 years.
The European division is headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, and was known as Masterfoods Europe until the end of 2007. The name Masterfoods originally came from a food business founded by the Lewis family in 1949 in Australia, and acquired by Mars in 1967. The Canadian division (formerly Effem Inc.) is based in Bolton, Ontario.
The company announced at the end of 2007 that all business units were adopting the name Mars. Masterfoods ceased to be a business name but continues as the brand name of food products in Australia.”
*Information from Forbes.com and Wikipedia.org
**Video published on YouTube by “Mars“