A changing of the guard is on the horizon for Skidmore Sales at the end of March. After eight successful years as President, marked by significant change and growth of our organization, Jim McCarthy will retire. Kent Heiden, current president of Skidmore’s sister company, Essex Food Ingredients, has been named Jim’s successor. He will have some big shoes to fill.
Under Jim’s leadership, our team and company doubled in size, meeting several key milestones in a relatively short amount of time. He led our company’s facility expansion that doubled the size of our West Chester operation and broadened our blending and repackaging capabilities. McCarthy is also responsible for building the strong leadership team we now have in place and is credited with spearheading the development of our corporate vision, and core values, as well as documenting our proven process.
Jim has made his mark across the food ingredient industry. His impressive career includes Central Soya Company, where he first met and worked with Jerry and Doug Skidmore, as they were a distributor of Central’s proteins and lecithin. After successfully merging the Central Soya Specialty Ingredients businesses with Dupont Protein Technologies to form the Solae Company, Jim ventured into a different segment of the ingredient industry: the flavor and seasoning business. He first managed the Global Chr Hansen flavor and seasoning business, and ultimately sold it to Symrise. Jim then joined Sensient Technologies managing their dairy flavors business and later was appointed as President of Sensient’s Global Flavor and Fragrance business. He developed a broad knowledge of food ingredients and many close business relationships over the years that have proven invaluable during his tenure at Skidmore.
“While I met and worked with many wonderful people throughout my career, having the honor to guide the tremendous team of people at Skidmore has been a career highlight for me,” he said earnestly. “We achieved much over the past eight years, and the company is well poised to continue its growth in the future. Culminating my career at Skidmore and seeing all that this team has accomplished shows what a dedicated team with a common vision and mission can achieve. I will dearly miss our Skidmore Family and will cherish the many fond memories we had together, and I leave knowing the business will be in good hands under the leadership of Kent Heiden.”
We are confident that is true. Kent joined our organization as President of Essex Food Ingredients over a year ago. Before that, the Cincinnati native was President and CEO of Midwest Golf and Turf – one of the largest Club Car distributors in the country. There, he rationalized business locations and product lines and decreased operating costs while leading the growth of current markets and expanding into new market segments.
Kent’s impressive forty-year career includes distribution operations, as well as distinctive sales experience, driving growth and operational excellence in both large and small business enterprises.
Heiden has a plan for what the Ohio operation will look like under his leadership. He grins as he explains, “I am super excited to be back in Cincinnati and working with a dedicated, professional, enthusiastic team focused on delivering excellent service to customers and growing the business. I intend to continue the great Skidmore tradition of growth in a positive employee and customer-based culture, drawing on the skilled management team currently in place. Together, we will strive to improve Skidmore’s ability to service our customers through continuous improvement efforts by empowering our very talented and dedicated staff.” Kent shares Jim’s laser-focused dedication to building strong relationships with customers and suppliers. “I am excited to make the move. It will be both challenging and invigorating working with our many great suppliers and customers as we together solve problems and create mutually beneficial partnerships.”
Doug Skidmore, Skidmore CEO, had the last word, “Jim’s legacy will not be eclipsed for years to come. I am grateful for all he has done for our organization. He led us through unforeseen and unprecedented industry circumstances with fantastic results. He will be missed. Looking ahead, it is clear: Kent Heiden is the right leader for our company. His extensive background in distribution and his proven track record in employee-focused leadership excellence leaves me without a doubt. The positive changes he made at our Essex location only solidifies my belief. The coming era holds great promise for our employees, customers, and suppliers alike.”
Please join us in welcoming Kent Heiden to our West Chester operation.