Primal Pet Group announces new leadership

Primal Pet Group names new CEO.

Primal Pet Group, which is backed by Kinderhook Industries, LLC, and includes the Primal Pet Foods, Himalayan Pet Supply and Prairie Dog Pet Products businesses, announces new executive leadership appointments, effective April 1, 2023. Jon M. Balousek was named chief executive officer to lead the vision and strategy for the full portfolio of leading pet care brands as the company enters its next phase of sustainable growth.

An experienced consumer products company leader, Balousek has a strong track record of building brands and driving profitable growth in highly competitive categories. Most recently, he was leading corporate development for Central Garden and Pet, which gave him new insights into the dynamic pet care industry. Prior to that, Balousek spent the majority of his career with The Clorox Company where he was accountable for driving sales and profit for five distinct business units and overseeing 3,000 employees and 13 manufacturing facilities.

“Throughout Jon’s career managing industry-leading consumer goods brands, he has always been passionate about putting the consumer first in everything a brand does,” said Tom Tuttle, managing director with Kinderhook. “From cat litter and salad dressing to cleaning products, Jon has successfully accelerated growth for numerous brands by winning with their consumers–and I’m confident he can do the same for our portfolio of pet care brands.”

With experience leading strategy and execution, brand management, employee engagement, and environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG), Balousek will be responsible for the overall business and all key functions for Primal Pet Group. He will partner closely with Matt Pirz, who will continue to focus on driving growth for the Primal Pet Foods business, with Matt Koss, who founded Primal Pet Foods in 2001, and with Suman Shrestha, who founded Himalayan in 2008, to help advance their vision and reach more consumers with their pioneering brands.

“The strength of any business starts with a great product and a strong consumer following–and that’s why Primal and Himalayan have been so successful,” said Balousek. “I’m humbled to be joining the team that has put their heart and soul into building these great brands. By tapping into this strong foundation, I am confident we can work together to continue to build this business by focusing on the needs of our consumers–and their pets.”

Primal Pet Group also announced that Steve Hill will be named executive chair of the board and will be responsible for partnering with Balousek to set the right strategy and establish good corporate governance for the company. Over the past decade, Hill has built a strong working relationship with the Kinderhook team as a portfolio CEO and board member, offering guidance and counsel to leaders at high-growth consumer goods companies. Tom Tuttle will remain on the Primal board as lead director.

Since 2003, Kinderhook has focused on investing in unique, growth-oriented ventures and helping businesses such as Primal Pet Foods and Himalayan find ways to achieve scale. Over the last two years, Kinderhook has made significant investments into Primal Pet Group’s owned, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Abilene, Texas, and Arlington, Wash., to increase production capacity and set the businesses up for continued success.

“With a stable operational footprint and a skilled people leader like Jon at the helm, there’s no question that this business is poised for significant growth,” said Hill.




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