Chief Commercial Officer, HARIBO of America
Rick LaBerge is a senior executive with 30 years of experience leading global sales and marketing strategies that build iconic brands. His expertise in business strategy and innovative execution has led him to his current role as Chief Commercial Officer for HARIBO of America (HoA), the fastest growing confectionery company in the U.S.
As CCO for HoA, Mr. LaBerge has built a best-in-class sales and marketing organization to amplify brand awareness across the U.S. Under his leadership, the U.S. HARIBO business has doubled in growth over the last five years through creating innovative confectionery treats, increasing distribution and launching engaging media campaigns. Mr. LaBerge prioritizes attracting and retaining top talent to deliver results, and in 2018, HARIBO became the #1 gummi brand in the U.S. and in 2022 the business drove over $500MM in retail sales. In 2023, HARIBO will operate its first-ever North American manufacturing facility and Mr. LaBerge is at the helm of driving demand and ensuring product gets to market faster than ever before.
Prior to joining HARIBO, Mr. LaBerge held leadership roles at prestigious companies throughout the U.S., including Mars and Johnson & Johnson. In his role as Vice President of Sales for Mars, Inc., Mr. LaBerge transformed the Chocolate segment in North America, spearheading a dramatic reorganization and efficiency effort that saved the business $50MM and drove $150MM in growth. Prior to that, he was the General Manager at Johnson & Johnson in the U.S., a $1.6B business. It was there that Mr. LaBerge led an organization that turned SPLENDA® into a household brand with retail sales in excess of $500MM. He also turned the Pepcid AC® brand from prescription to over-the-counter offering, creating a $350MM franchise and a #1 product in the category.
Mr. LaBerge holds his Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Business Economics from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and his MBA from Cornell University. He is an active member of the National Confectionery Association’s political action committee (CandyPAC), the Board of Trustees for Carthage College, Board of Directors of the German American Business Council (GABC) and acts as Co-Chairman of the Milwaukee 7.