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Appetite for advancement Featured

11:12am EDT August 20, 2004
Charles Pizzi's first taste of business wasn't in the bakery business. The president and CEO of Tasty Baking Co. whet his appetite for corporate reorganization and strategic development while serving on the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, where he served as president and CEO from 1989 until resigning in 2002 to accept his current position.

Under Pizzi's leadership, the chamber grew to one of the nation's largest, boasting more than 6,000 members. Pizzi tripled revenue, expanded reserves, broadened the chamber's portfolio of programs and established a for-profit subsidiary and a Council for University Presidents that includes 33 regional institutions.

What tempted him to take his business acumen to the food industry?

"Being the head of the chamber, we grew dramatically while I was there," he says. "I had a chance to look at various businesses, and I sat on some public boards of businesses, as well."

Tasty Baking Co. satisfied Pizzi's hunger to expand, restructure and repackage a solid brand.

"This is really a learning experience," he says. "I made sure to surround myself with people who are smart and who understand the business.

"One stock analyst said, 'What does he know about this business, and why was he picked?' Another said, 'You know, this guy has an interesting background, let's wait and see.' I think we've proven that if you are open-minded and ask a lot of question and have the right people around you, that is the key to success."