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Fannie May, the iconic Ohio-based fine chocolate brand, appointed Kevin J. Coen as its new president on Monday, Jan. 6.
Most recently Coen was president of Crabtree & Evelyn, but he’s also served as v.p. of retail at Lindt Chocolate.
|Kevin J. Coen|
David Taiclet, Fannie May Brands’ ceo and president of the 1-800-Flowers.com Gourmet Food and Gift Baskets division, says the company was drawn to Coen because of his “high track record of success.”
“Kevin’s extensive background in the food and gifting marketplaces along with his vast experience in retail, e-commerce, wholesale and distribution will be tremendous assets in growing our Fannie May fine chocolates business,” he explains.
And Coen says he is drawn to Fannie May’s passionate and dedicated team.
“As soon as I heard the call, I knew I was the perfect fit,” Coen says.
But that’s not to say it will be easy.
His big focus will be on wrapping his arms around what makes each brand so special to the consumers and how to leverage that to grow all three brands: Fannie May Chocolates, Fannie Farmer and Harry London.
“The challenge really is to not lose what is so special and not let growth interfere with what brought people to the brand to begin with,” he says.
Coen is no stranger to the executive leader role.
Most recently, as president of Crabtree & Evelyn — a global maker of fragrances, bath and shower gels, soaps, home spa products, body lotions, hand creams and home fragrances — he was responsible for $120 million in sales involving 135 company stores, 22 distributor markets, more than 50 licensee stores, and at least 3,000 wholesale accounts and e-commerce sites in six countries.
Among his accomplishments at Crabtree & Evelyn was the re-positioning of the company’s brand in America, resulting in a 10-point margin improvement.
Prior to joining Crabtree & Evelyn, Coen served as division president for Swarovski North America and was responsible for the company’s North America Consumer Goods division. Under his guidance, the division’s North American business grew from $150 million to $400 million.
“When I joined we were losing money for North America,” he says. “When I left, we were one of the most successful regions in the world.”
Before that, while at Lindt Chocolate, v.p. of retail, he led a team that generated double-digit store growth for five consecutive years. When he joined Lindt Chocolate, Coen says they were struggling to enter the U.S. market through traditional wholesale trades.
“I was brought in to create the retail model and the retail business, which they had never done,” he explains. “They had already been in business for over 100 years, so this was a really revolutionary approach.”
Coen, who calls himself a “Boston boy”, made the required move from Massachusetts to Ohio in early Nov. 2013 and hit the ground running. With the younger of his two children in college, the transition made sense for him and his wife of 31 years, Coen said.
“It’s a good opportunity at this time at my life as me and my wife are essentially empty-nesters now,” he explains.
Founded in 1920, Fannie May Brands has grown from a single retail store on Chicago’s North LaSalle Street into a maker of gourmet chocolates and other confections enjoyed by millions worldwide.
The company is still based in Chicago, but is now comprised of more than 100 franchised and company-owned retail stores, a high traffic web business, a wholesale and fundraising business and a business gifts division.
The subsidiary of 1-800-Flowers.com is know for their fine chocolates including Pixies, Trinidads and Harry London brands. Among the company’s newest creations are Fannie May Berries featuring large and luscious strawberries dipped in 100 percent real chocolate