McCormick gets ready for shuffle in management


Just days after reporting record quarterly earnings for the spice company founded by his grand uncle, 62-year-old Charles P. McCormick Jr. said yesterday that he is starting to prepare others to lead McCormick & Co.

Mr. McCormick, the company's chairman, told 600 people gathered at the Hunt Valley Inn for the annual meeting that even though current leadership has done exceedingly well -- earnings per share and stock values have tripled in the last three years -- it is time to find new executives to lead the nation's biggest spice company.

He said President Bailey Thomas will eventually replace him, and other managers will be shuffled in coming months to give them broader experience and training.

Though the company has seen its profits soar in recent months and expects to do well in the future, Mr. McCormick warned that 1991 is expected to be "a difficult year."

Though sales of its most profitable items -- spices bottled for sale in grocery stores -- are doing well as people eat at home more, the company "is seeing some recessionary pressures on sales volumes," he said.

But Mr. McCormick said he is hopeful the company's international business will continue to grow. He noted that the company recently opened a plant in Shanghai, China, that will clean spices and sell flavorings throughout Asia.

In addition, McCormick expects to expand its domestic operations.

In recent months, McCormick has purchased the Old Bay crab spice line and the Crescent spice line sold in the Pacific Northwest. And this month, McCormick bought Mojave Foods, a Los Angeles-based marketer of chili peppers.

As part of the reorganization, the company said yesterday that H. Eugene Blattman, formerly president of McCormick's Gilroy Foods subsidiary, was elected to the board of directors and named vice president of McCormick's flavor and agribusiness group.

Earlier this week, McCormick said earnings for its first quarter jumped 61 percent, to $15.2 million.

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