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The Food Group names CEO

1 March, 2002

WPP Specialised Communications and The Food Group announce that Robert Schrijver has joined The Food Group as Chief Executive Officer. The Food Group is a WPP company focused on delivering total marketing solutions for clients in the food sector.

Schrijver, an advertising and marketing veteran with extensive food industry and integrated communications expertise, was most recently Executive Vice President at Bcom3's D'Arcy unit. He brings to The Food Group over 25 years of client-side and agency experience at General Foods, PepsiCo, Siegal & Gale and J. Walter Thompson. Schrijver, 50, succeeds Don Axleroad, who becomes Chairman. Axleroad founded The Food Group in 1969. The Food Group joined the WPP family of communications companies in 1998.
With annual capitalized billings of $90 million, The Food Group is the leading marketing communications consultancy in food, food service and hospitality. The Food Group creates marketing, advertising and promotional programs for national and international clients including: Kraft Foods, McIlhenny Co. (Tabasco Sauce), the HJ Heinz Company, Norwegian Seafood Export Council, the National Restaurant Association, Ventura, Mott's, the Florida Department of Citrus, ConAgra Foods, Nabisco, The Coca-Cola Company and more.

In addition, Creative Food Solutions (CFS), a division of The Food Group, is comprised of a team of culinary and operations consultants providing foodservice clients with innovative concepts, menu and product development, and training programs. The Food Group has offices in New York, Tampa, Chicago, Los Angeles and London and maintains professionally staffed test and development kitchens in New York, Los Angeles and Tampa.

John Zweig, WPP's Specialist Communications CEO, said: 'We are enthusiastic about the opportunities to accelerate The Food Group's growth and to bring clients the array of resources within WPP, as well as the geographical reach of our organisation. We are delighted to welcome Bob back to the WPP family. He did a memorable job when he worked for us as new business director at our J. Walter Thompson unit and we look to his even greater success in this leadership position at The Food Group.'

Axleroad said of Schrivjer's arrival, 'My friendship with Bob goes back to 1996, when he introduced us to WPP; that introduction ultimately led to our joining the WPP group of companies. Bob comes to our organisation with a good working knowledge of our business and with a set of very refreshing views on client service and on new product innovation that he has gained during his broad and diverse career. I can think of no one better to lead The Food Group into the changing terrain of the new Millennium.'

Schrijver said: 'It is an honour to be associated with an organisation that is the recognised leader in its field. The Food Group represents the finest names in the food industry and has developed hugely profitable menu items and marketing campaigns for its clients. I see nothing but opportunity ahead. Food, its preparation and consumption are one of life's greatest pleasures. And, from an economic point of view in these times of change, the food industry represents a huge area of opportunity. As American consumers alter their food consumption habits to meet their new lifestyles, we stand ready to help clients capitalize on changing patterns of food distribution and consumption within the United States abroad.'

Schrijver, who began his career at General Foods and who later served as Director of Advertising for PepsiCo Wines and Spirits International (Stolichnya Vodka), comes to The Food Group from D'Arcy Worldwide, where he was Executive Vice President. At D'Arcy, he was responsible for corporate new business, the company's global knowledge management system and directing D'Arcy's global intranet development. Schrijver also was Vice Chairman of Siegal & Gale, the permier corporate identity firm, and spent 10 years in marketing and new product development in the consumer division of Bristol-Myers.

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