McCormick Co. said Friday that Lawrence Kurzius has stepped into the newly created position of chief operating officer and president, overseeing business world-wide for the spice company.
Mr. Kurzius, formerly president of Americas and China chief administrative officer, will also be responsible for the company’s supply chain and research and development functions.
He will continue to report to Chief Executive Alan D. Wilson. A representative for the company wasn’t immediately available to comment on whether the appointment is a succession-planning move.
Mr. Kurzius, age 55 as of last February’s proxy filing, has been at McCormick for 11 years in roles such as president of international businesses, and president of global consumer operations. Previously, he was the CEO at food-and-spice company Zatarain’s, and also worked at Uncle Ben’s.
Additionally, Malcolm Swift, currently president of EMEA, will become president of the global industrial segment. Mr. Swift joined McCormick in January 2005.
Expansion in China, formerly Mr. Kurzius’s main area of focus, has been a key strategy for McCormick. In May 2013, the company paid about $122 million to acquire Wuhan Asia-Pacific Condiments Co., the maker of DaQiao and ChuShiLe brand bouillon products. In the most recently ended quarter, the company’s consumer business results were driven by a 15% sales increase in China.
Maryland-based McCormick has posted strong results in recent quarters on strength in its international segments, though U.S. sales have faced pressure from competition. McCormick has pursued a marketing effort to help turn around demand and sales, and said last year that it will also expand its product offerings.
Shares of McCormick, which were inactive premarket, have been up about 10% in the past 12 months through Thursday’s close.
By Angela Chen