Nestle: to Move U.S. Pizza Business to Ohio

Glendale / CA. (nusa) Nestle USA announced that the company is relocating its Nestle Pizza Division from its present location in Northbrook, Illinois to Solon, Ohio. Nestle Pizza is the maker of America´s most popular pizza brands, including «DiGiorno» (the No. 1 frozen pizza brand in the U.S.), «California Pizza Kitchen», «Tombstone» and «Jack´s». The move will be completed by mid-2014.

The Nestle Pizza Division brands were acquired from Kraft Foods in 2010 for 3,7 billion USD. The acquisition brought leadership in the frozen pizza category to Nestle, which already led the frozen prepared foods category with its well-established «Stouffer´s», «Lean Cuisine», «Hot Pockets» and «Lean Pockets» brands.

Nestle executive John Carmichael will return to the U.S. from his assignment as Nestle Zone Americas Deputy in Vevey, Switzerland to become President of Nestle Pizza on January 1, 2014. Paul Bakus, the current President of Nestle Pizza, has been named President of Corporate Affairs for Nestle in the Market, effective January 01, 2014.

«By moving Nestle Pizza to Ohio, we will bring together terrific brands and powerful businesses that will create many more talent development opportunities for our Nestle employees», said Nestle USA Chairman + CEO Paul Grimwood. «The decision also allows us to better manage our costs and to improve our efficiencies by operating as One Nestle with our retailers».

Nestle Pizza will join other Nestle USA businesses in Solon, Ohio, which include Nestle Prepared Foods, led by President Frank Higgins, which markets industry-leading brands «Stouffer´s», «Lean Cuisine», «Hot Pockets», «Lean Pockets» and «Buitoni» and Nestle Baking, led by President Al Multari, whose well-loved brands include «Nestle Toll House» baking ingredients and refrigerated (and in test, frozen) cookie dough, «Libby´s» 100 percent Pure Pumpkin and «Nestle Carnation» milks.

Together, Nestle´s pizza, prepared foods and baking businesses employ approximately 8’800 people in ten manufacturing locations across the U.S.

The relocated Pizza business will also benefit from close proximity to the expanding R+D facilities in Solon, Ohio. In June, Nestle announced its 53 million USD investment to build a Product Technology Center dedicated to frozen and chilled foods research. The new facility is now under construction and will be operational in early 2015.

«We are extremely grateful for the support we have received from Ohio Governor John R. Kasich as well as the assistance provided by the JobsOhio organization», Grimwood added. «The JobsOhio team was very helpful in gathering the information we required to make the decision to move this business to Ohio. We also appreciate the support from the City of Solon led by Mayor Susan Drucker, who recognizes how important it is to secure good jobs for the community. The moves we are making along with the growth we expect to achieve will add approximately 250 Nestle jobs to the state of Ohio, where we already employ nearly 2’500 great employees».

The Ohio business community celebrated Nestle´s decision to add to its existing base of business in the state.

«Nestle spent months determining the best place in the country to locate its pizza division», said Joe Roman, CEO and President of the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP). «It was a very competitive process between potential locations. Obviously, we are thrilled the decision is Cuyahoga County and we look forward to supporting Nestle operations in the future».

«We are delighted to welcome Nestle Pizza to the growing number of internationally recognized companies that see the advantages of doing business in Northeast Ohio», said Tom Waltermire, CEO, Team Northeast Ohio (Team NEO). «Team NEO, along with the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the City of Solon, Cuyahoga County and leaders from the business community worked together to showcase all we have to offer for Nestle and its employees».

«Ohio´s world-class research and technology expertise, food product knowledge and related manufacturing capabilities are uniquely helping Nestle and other global companies find success», said John Minor, JobsOhio President and Chief Investment Officer. «With our partners Team NEO and the City of Solon, we are excited about Nestle´s commitment and value the opportunity to be a part of the company´s growth here in Ohio».

Employees in Northbrook were notified of the decision to move the business last week. The majority will be offered the opportunity to relocate to Ohio.

The Nestle Pizza Division also operates two pizza production bakeries in the cities of Little Chute and Medford, both in Wisconsin. These facilities and their employees will not be relocating to Ohio.