Russell Stokes has been chosen to fill the newly created senior position of chief strategy officer at Mars, Incorporated. Stokes will oversee the company’s enterprise and portfolio strategies, as well as Mars’ overall transformation agenda. Stokes will work directly under Chief Financial Officer Claus Aagaard at the company’s headquarters in McLean.
"I'm delighted to welcome Russell to Mars as our chief strategy officer,” Aagaard said. “In today's dynamic business landscape, change and uncertainty is the new norm and companies have to be relevant, consumer-focused and agile. Russell will bring a depth of knowledge and experience to define and enable our growth plans in the current environment, with a view for the long-term, while helping us continue to create products and services that our customers and consumers love."
Mars reported the position was created to maintain a push for innovation amid new and fast-paced competition, changing consumer trends and a transformative retail environment.
"Mars is a unique company with a rich family history and values-driven legacy. Not only has their culture of growth made them successful – preserving and growing iconic brands like M&M's, Extra, Pedigree and Uncle Ben's, while also building the world's biggest veterinary health group – they have kept their principles at the core of their decision-making,” Stokes added. “I'm thrilled to join the business at a time when it continues to reinvent itself."
Prior to joining Mars, Stokes worked at Whirlpool Corporation for three years as head of its strategy and mergers/acquisitions division and served on its executive committee. Stokes’ previous career experience includes serving as a partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, of which Mars was a client.
Stokes earned his bachelor’s from the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine in London. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School.