Marty Kanan, president and CEO, King Nut Cos.

Marty Kanan, president and CEO, King Nut Cos.

FINALIST: Retail and ConsumerProducts

Marty Kanan was facing a challenge that could have brought down his business. King Nut’s peanut butter had been co-packed with peanut butter from another manufacturer and as a result, salmonella had been introduced to a number of products.

Kanan, president and CEO, needed to act fast and so he decided to do a national recall to prevent anyone else from getting sick, doing so on his own initiative before the manufacturer of the tainted peanut butter had taken any action.

He also sought out the best and most talented public relations firm he could find on a Saturday morning and set out to manage the situation as openly, honestly and effectively as he could. Eventually, he ended up testifying before Congress to help the industry get better food safety standards.

The effort continues and fortunately for Kanan and his customers, so does King Nut. While it hasn’t always been easy, Kanan has helped his company weather the storm and continue to grow.

He has worked to transform his business when necessary, moving from a highly successful peanut business with airlines to pretzels and other snacks when the airlines began to go peanut-free.

He has made investing back in the company a priority to make sure his employees have the latest technology and equipment to use to do their jobs. Kanan is always looking for ways to improve the manufacturing process, as well as other areas that the company can get into to serve its customers.

Kanan promotes from within and makes sure his employees know how much he values their hard work. He has made mentoring and training a priority at all levels and puts those skills to use to continue to grow.

How to reach: King Nut Cos.,