Next on our list is Steve Hughes, chairman and CEO of Boulder Brands, which owns brands including Smart Balance, Earth Balance, Udi’s Gluten-Free, Glutino, and EVOL Foods.
Pathway to the top: Hughes started his career in CPG in the late 1970s at spices and seasonings giant McCormick, where he occupied a series of marketing and innovation-focused roles. In the late 1980s, he headed to ConAgra Foods, where he spearheaded the launch of Healthy Choice.
In the mid-1990s, he held senior leadership roles at Tropicana Products before becoming CEO of Celestial Seasonings. In 2002, he moved to White Wave Foods and was named SVP of Marketing and Research in 2004 before becoming a director of consultancy firm Cambridge Group. In 2005, he founded Boulder Specialty Brands and completed the acquisition of GFA Inc., makers of Smart Balance, in May 2007. (In 2013, Smart Balance Inc changed its name to Boulder Brands).
Education: Hughes has a BA in economics and political science from Denison University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.