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Jelly Belly CEO announces retirement

BY Ryan Chavis

FAIRFIELD, Calif. — Robert Simpson, Jr. will retire as president and COO of Jelly Belly Candy Co. on March 31 after 15 years at the helm, the company said. Waiting in the wings to fill the position will be Lisa Rowland Brasher.

During his time at the company, Simpson was responsible for Jelly Belly’s executive and operational functions in both national and international markets. As he guided the company into international markets, Simpson’s ability to raise Jelly Belly’s brand awareness resulted in the company becoming a “global confectionery leader,” the company said. 

Simpson joined the company following a 30-year career with Raley’s supermarket chain, where he served as senior director of marketing and merchandising. He recently wrapped up a two-year term as chairman on the board of trustees of the National Confectioner’s Association. 

“It has been a phenomenal 15 years, and I am so appreciative of having worked on an iconic brand that positively impacts the lives of our employees, business partners and consumers,” Simpson said of his time with Jelly Belly. “What we accomplish is admired throughout the industry. I know there are even more great things ahead.” 

Brasher steps into the role over three decades of experience in the daily operations of the company. She joined the company in 1982 as a customer service rep and billing clerk and transitioned to a number of roles — accounts payable, human resources and sales merchandising — before being named to the executive team as a corporate director in the 1990s.

The confectionery business seems a natural fit for Brasher: Four generations of family members before her have made candy in America. She will report to company chairman of the board Herman Rowland, Sr., her father. 

“This company was founded on the traditions of family and quality candy. We intend to remain a family company, and I’m proud that the fifth and sixth generations are stepping up to drive the business forward. I have great confidence that this appointment will position the company for successive generations to carry on the 146-year tradition of candy manufacturing,” said Herman Rowland, Sr. 

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