Don Fussner will take over the CEO role at Johnsonville on Jan. 1, 2024.
Family-owned sausage company Johnsonville, LLC announced the retirement of CEO Nick Meriggioli. Following his exit at the end of this year, CFO and COO Don Fussner will step into the chief executive role.
Meriggioli has served as CEO since 2015. He was tapped for that role by owner Ralph Stayer, who had been CEO since 1968.
Current owner and chairperson Shelly Stayer praised Meriggioli for his efforts in growing the company’s retail and foodservice business in the United States and around the world. “If our culture remained a priority, high member engagement and business growth would follow. Nick has modeled that and has been a strong advocate for our Johnsonville Way culture, and we are especially grateful for his leadership,” she remarked.
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After a 24-year career with Kraft Foods and its Oscar Mayer business, Fussner joined the Sheboygan Falls, Wis.-based Johnsonville in 2019 to lead the finance function and added COO duties in 2022. Over the past few years, he led several transformational programs across business planning, operational technologies and strategic sourcing.
“Don is a strategic and operational leader with proven success across the entire value chain. He is a strong coach and people-focused leader who will continue to prioritize Johnsonville’s unique culture,” noted Stayer.
Also this month, Johnsonville signed a five-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks to serve as the “official sausage” of the NBA team. As part of the agreement, Johnsonville-branded sausage products will be sold at any event held at the Fiserv Forum.