With over 140 years of brand heritage, Lactalis Canada produces nutritious and great-tasting dairy products to enrich and nurture the lives of Canadians. Recently, its President and CEO, Mark Taylor, has been recognised in the Most Influential CEO Awards 2023. Here we take a closer look to learn more about the company and Mark’s leadership approach.
The food we consume has a direct impact on our health and wellbeing. Therefore, consuming products of high quality is important to reap the benefits of nutrients that can improve our efficiency and well-being. That is where Lactalis Canada comes in, throughout the years it has not lost sight of its purpose which is “To Enrich and Nurture the Lives of Canadians.”
Lactalis Canada works with Canada’s major grocery retailers, independent grocers, customers in the food service, and further food processing sector. It has strong relationships with its customer base and Lactalis Canada takes the time to understand their needs and works to align with them. Thanks to their common goal of meeting the needs of Canadian consumers, they are able to deliver products that people not only enjoy but go back to time and time again. A company that truly cares about its consumers is one you can trust.
Since 2018, Mark Taylor has been the leader behind Lactalis Canada’s iconic brands – Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, Astro, Lactantia, Beatrice, Galbani, and many more. He has over 30 years of experience in CPG, with a speciality in the dairy category through leadership roles across the supply chains, from farm to consumer.
Prior to relocating to Canada, Mark was Group Managing Director Lactalis UK and Ireland from 2015 to 2018. Additionally, he served as Chair of the Board of Directors of UK-based Muddy Boots Software Limited and was also a board member of Zenith International Consulting in the UK focused on M&A and international business.
Mark has played a crucial role in driving Lactalis Canada’s growth and implanted changes that have led to significant success within the brands. In 2019, Mark led the CDN $1.62 billion acquisition of Kraft Heinz’s natural cheese business which is the biggest of its kind in Canadian dairy history. This was then followed by the acquisition of Ultima Foods Inc. from Agropur and, in 2021, the Kraft Heinz Grated cheese business in Canada. Mark shares, “Today, Lactalis Canada is the third largest country by turnover in Lactalis Group, third-largest branded CPG manufacturer in Canada and has been consistently named on Forbes’ list of Canada’s Best Employers.”
As a Board Director for the Dairy Processors Association of Canada, Food, Health & Consumer Products of Canada, and chair of The Grocery Foundation’s Donation Committee, Mark is a prominent figure in the industry. On top of this, in 2023, he was appointed as a cabinet member of the largest youth mental health movement in Canada, The Feel Out Loud with Kids Help Phone Campaign. Making a positive impact on causes he believes in is something he makes time for, no matter how busy he may be.
Mark’s hard work over the years has paid off, and his extensive experience is a reflection of his commitment. He has recently been honoured with the title of Most Influential CEO 2023 – Toronto. Throughout his journey to his current position, he has faced many challenges, but overcoming this has provided him with the knowledge that he implements into his leadership role.
When dealing with problems, whether personal or professional Mark believes they are always easier to solve when they are shared. He highlights, “Having a great team around you is therefore essential. I have been lucky to have worked and be working with great people. This is a privilege I do not take lightly and like any relationship requires a personal investment to make sure it flourishes.” At Lactalis Canada, he prioritises his team and believes they are the company’s biggest asset. “Helping people to understand why they are important and how they contribute to the higher-level goals of the organization by nurturing, supporting, and serving them is not an option for modern leaders; it’s an imperative.”
Lactalis Canada is currently in a transformative period and the support from the team makes this a possibility – they are who work behind the scenes to help bring everything together. With over 4,000 team members Lactalis Canada believes each of them has an important voice and role within the organisation. Mark prioritises open communication with his team, and it allows him to build a more dynamic flexible, and responsive business where people feel they belong. Alongside this, he shares responsibility and knowledge while mentoring and coaching his employees to support their growth and development towards reaching their full potential.
The ability to understand different perspectives is an important aspect of leading a company towards success. Mark sees his role as a leader as working for his employees, this enables him to consider each individual and work to create an environment where all can succeed. By aligning with people and their goals, both professional and personal, it enables him to lead Lactalis Canada accordingly. The individual success of his team is what drives the collective wins he has been able to accomplish since joining the company in 2018. A business is “an ecosystem not an autocracy”, adds Mark.
Being open to change and evolution is the key to staying on top of the company you run and lead forward. This is why Mark is open to honest and constructive feedback from his team as it reveals opportunities to improve. For this to take place you must first work to build a foundation where respect and trust are present regardless. Hard conversations always lead to incredibly rewarding destinations, especially when you’ve got a fantastic group of individuals alongside you. Mark concludes, “I look forward to continuing to serve in a capacity where I can make a positive impact in my position.”
We look forward to seeing Lactalis Canada grow as Mark continues to lead it towards success.
For business contact Mark Taylor from Lactalis Canada via their website – https://www.lactalis.ca/