March 17, 2020 – Wakefield, RI-based O’Neill Consulting has placed James Low as the new president for Rip Van Wafels, which makes popular snack wafels. Managing partner Kevin O’Neill and partner Doug Rosen led the assignment, working closely with company co-founders and co-CEOs Rip Pruisken and Marco De Leon.
“Jim is a great commercial leader who shares Rip Van’s passion for providing healthier snack alternatives,” said Mr. O’Neill. “This purpose-driven mindset combined with his ability to build award-winning brands, simplify complexity and rally teams to deliver in entrepreneurial companies made him the right leader to take on this exciting opportunity to drive change at Rip Van.”
Mr. Low was identified through a rigorous search led by O’Neill Consulting’s consumer practice. “Rip Van has great potential and is well-positioned in a food market where ‘better for you’ alternatives continue to gain popularity with its clean, simple, and high-quality products,” said Mr. Rosen. “We’re excited to see Jim take on the company’s operations to unleash growth with his terrific food industry experience and leadership of companies big and small.”
With further growth on the horizon, Mr. Low is charged with leading the company’s operations, P&L, brand strategy and aggressively scaling product lines across multiple channels nationwide. His priorities also include identifying new market opportunities, managing bottom line performance and building competitive advantage through product innovation.
A Proven Leader
Mr. Low is a proven business leader with more than 20 years of experience leading, scaling and competitively positioning consumer brands. He spent most of his career as a general manager under the Kraft Foods and Mondelēz International umbrella with full P&L responsibility for brands such as Schuman Cheese, Ritz and Enjoy Life Foods.
Most recently, as executive vice president of marketing and sales for $600 million specialty cheese company Schuman Cheese, Mr. Low drove double-digit growth and delivered a historically high share of voice for the company. In his previous position as general manager at Enjoy Life Foods, he drove a successful turnaround, overhauling operations while generating growth and excitement for the brand. Mr. Low holds a master’s degree from the University of North Carolina and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William & Mary.
Started in a dorm room at Brown University, Rip van Wafels produces all natural, Amsterdam wafels made with quality ingredients that are lower in calories, sugar and fat than majority of the items available in coffee shops. Founded in 2010, the Brooklyn, NY-based company has grown by 500 percent in the last three years and has made both the Inc. and Forbes 30 under 30 lists and won numerous business awards. Its products are available in 12,000 Starbucks around the country.
O’Neill Consulting, an Acertitude company, was founded in 1996. Its specialties include executive search, consumer, industrial and manufacturing, and healthcare and life sciences. The firm finds talent for executive roles, including CEO, COO, CFO, CTO/CIO, CMO, CHRO, CRO and CSO. It serves clients in private equity, human resources and middle management. The firm also has locations in Boston, Dallas and Shanghai.
Mr. O’Neill brings over 25 years of business building and consulting experience to his leadership of O’Neill Consulting’s global search practice. He leads senior client relationships in industries spanning consumer, healthcare and life sciences, industrial and private equity. Before founding O’Neill Consulting, he spent several years at a large Philadelphia-based search firm and held client management roles with two investment banks.
Mr. Rosen, based in New York, has more than 15 years of multinational expertise across the hospitality, real estate and technology industries. He manages key client relationships and engagements for a range of functional roles including sales, marketing, operations, finance, and human resources. Mr. Rosen was founder and managing director of DMR Advisory, acquired by O’Neill Consulting in 2015. Previously, he served for 13 years as managing director for HVS Executive Search where he helped launch one of the first online recruitment websites.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media