Location: Bloomfield, NJ
Industry: Consumer products
President and CEO
Reese Finer Foods, which later evolved into World Finer Foods, was founded by German immigrant Max Ries in 1947. Upon his arrival in the U.S. in 1929, he intended to open a textile firm in Chicago. “Instead, he identified an opportunity to share the flavors of the world with his new American neighbors by starting a specialty-food importing business,” says Susan Guerin, president and CEO of World Finer Foods.
Fun Fact: In 2015, World Finer Foods donated more than 70,000 cases of food to Operation Blessing.
When Guerin was appointed CEO, her biggest challenge was adapting the corporate culture from a CEO-run company to a leadership team-run company. “With this change, a team emerged with greater ownership, accountability and resilience,” she says. That resilience was needed to address several issues facing World Finer Foods at that time. “The company had postponed investment in infrastructure, resulting in antiquated systems, undocumented processes and a weak financial structure,” says Guerin. “The leadership team initiated several concurrent infrastructure improvements. … The results are improved accuracy of financial reporting, greater inventory control and more efficient workflow.”
Mentorship is an important value for Guerin. “At World Finer Foods, I seek out high-performing employees … whom I can personally mentor as their careers evolve,” she says.