Mars Snacking and Mars Wrigley announce leadership changes

April 29, 2024
Longtime Mars veteran Blas Maquivar will lead the growing Health & Wellness division of Mars Snacking, and Gabriel Fernandez is appointed president, Global Emerging Markets, Mars Wrigley.

Mars, a global leader in confectionery, snacking, food and pet care products and services, announced it has appointed Blas Maquivar as global president, Health & Wellness, Mars Snacking. 

Gabriel Fernandez, general manager of Mars Wrigley Mexico, will succeed Maquivar.

With a tenure at Mars spanning nearly 14 years, Maquivar will oversee the company’s expanding Health & Wellness portfolio including brands Nature’s Bakery, Trü Frü and Kind, the latter of which has expanded to 30 global markets outside of the U.S. and Canada since Mars took full ownership in 2020. 

Maquivar joined Mars in 2010 as general manager, Mars Chocolate Mexico. He then served in several senior leadership roles across the Snacking business, most recently as president, Global Emerging Markets (GEM), where he led over 140 fast-growing markets including Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Central America. During his tenure, GEM experienced double-digit growth of 11% year-over-year. 

As part of its vision to transform the snacking category and embrace shifting consumer needs and preferences, Mars has expanded the foothold of its Health & Wellness division within the permissible snacking category in the last several years. Under Maquivar’s leadership, the Health & Wellness division will continue to nurture and globally scale its existing brands while remaining an attractive destination for founder-led brands. This all comes in service of the company’s greater ambition to double its Snacking business and grow revenue to $36 billion within the next decade. 

Since joining Mars, Trü Frü and Nature’s Bakery have also flourished further, with Nature’s Bakery’s net sales growing 78% post-acquisition. The brand is on pace in 2024 to be more than double its size since it was bought out in 2020. Following Mars’ 2023 acquisition of Trü Frü, the brand’s net sales grew by over 50% that same year, with Q1 2024 net sales up 80% versus Q1 2023. 

“We will use our legacy of innovation for growing and scaling emerging snacking brands, and are confident in our bold category vision to lead the future of snacking,” Andrew Clarke, global president, Mars Snacking, said in the announcement. “Blas has an outstanding track record of leadership and is a natural choice to accelerate the positive trajectory of our dynamic Health & Wellness division.” 

Maquivar added in the announcement: “Our snacks have been enjoyed in every corner of the world for years, and our Health & Wellness division has emerged as a key apparatus in ensuring we deliver for consumers across all consumption occasions. I look forward to working with this talented team to drive further growth and portfolio evolution, continuing to bring consumers the snacks and treats that they love globally – including what will hopefully become some new favorites.” 

Gabriel Fernandez, general manager of Mars Wrigley Mexico, will succeed Maquivar.

Fernandez has been with Mars since 2005 and has held regional and corporate leadership roles in Latin America, Europe and North America. From 2016 to 2024, Fernandez served as general manager of Mars Wrigley Mexico. During that time, Fernandez led the business through several key transformations, including the successful integration of Mexican chocolate brand Turin, the Wrigley portfolio, and Mars Wrigley’s Caribbean and Central American markets.

In his new role, Fernandez will oversee the GEM region as it continues to build momentum and drive overall business growth. A key focus area will be continuing to cultivate a strong talent development pipeline and championing inclusion and diversity efforts across the 140+ markets within the GEM cluster. During Fernandez’s tenure in Mexico, female representation within the Mars Wrigley Latin American business rose from 10% to 40%. Fernández also led Latin America to significant financial success, achieving over 50% growth.

Andrew Clarke, global president, Mars Snacking, said in the announcement: “Gabriel’s extensive leadership experience and longstanding tenure at Mars make him a perfect fit to guide this burgeoning business into its next phase. Our emerging markets cluster is primed to continue drive talent, innovation, and growth for Mars Wrigley as we double down on our strategy to transform the snacking category. I know that Gabriel will take us to even greater success with his leadership acumen and track record of growth.”

Fernandez added: “I am incredibly excited to continue the brilliant work led by Blas and the GEM leadership team and to partner alongside an energized team that lives out our global purpose of inspiring moments of everyday happiness. Following my experience in other emerging markets, I am eager to champion the incredible brands and talent that we have in this rapidly evolving, dynamic region. From iconic global favorites such as M&M’S to our local heroes such as Turin, I look forward to continuing our legacy of culturally relevant innovation for consumers in emerging markets.”