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Lactalis Canada Announces New Sales Leadership Appointments

February 12, 2024

February 12, 2024 – Toronto, Ontario – Lactalis Canada, the Canadian dairy leader behind iconic brands like Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, Balderson, Astro and Lactantia and a subsidiary of France-based Lactalis Group, is pleased to announce the appointment of four new leaders to its Customer Sales Team. These new appointments follow an enhanced commercial structure focused on improving internal efficiencies and building stronger customer partnerships.

“One of Lactalis Canada’s corporate goals is to be the easiest dairy company to do business with, and over the last 18 months, our team has been building an enhanced commercial structure to deliver just this,” said Tom Szostok, Senior Vice President, Sales at Lactalis Canada. “Together, with these new leaders, we look forward to continuing to further elevate our customer partnerships and experience.”


Mark Kreckler, Senior Director, Customer Development – Sobeys (effective February 5, 2024)

In this role, Mark Kreckler will be responsible for overseeing enterprise-wide business development for Sobeys with the exception of Fluid Milk and Deli Cheese. Mark brings over 25 years of CPG sales experience to Lactalis Canada, most recently serving as Sales Director at Kimberly Clark where he led the Sales team in Australia and was responsible for all Customer teams, National Field Sales, Shopper Marketing and Vendor Replenishment Planning. Prior to this, Mark led Sales Strategy, Revenue Management, Ecommerce & National Field Sales as Senior Sales Director at Lindt & Sprungli. He has also served as Sales Director at Mars. Mark began his career at Campbell’s Soup Company where he progressed through multiple commercial roles leading Business & Customer Development for large retailers across the Canadian and Australian markets.

Kate Simmie, Director, Customer Development – Walmart (effective February 20, 2024)

Kate Simmie will oversee enterprise-wide business development for Walmart with the exception of Fluid Milk and Deli Cheese. Kate’s key priority will be to leverage the full scale of the team at Lactalis Canada to drive mutual growth as a value-added strategic partner for Walmart. Kate brings over 15 years of sales experience to Lactalis Canada. She was most recently Director, Sales Planning & Strategy at Riverside Foods. Prior to this, Kate was at Campbell’s Soup Company for eight years where she progressed through various sales positions, including serving as Director, Sales Planning & Strategy. Kate also spent six years at Maple Leaf Foods in various Sales roles.

Kelly Backer, Senior Director, Customer Development – Costco & All West Grocery Retail (effective February 20, 2024)

Kelly Backer will be responsible for leading enterprise-wide business development for Costco and all West Grocery Retail for all business segments with the exception of Fluid Milk and Deli Cheese. Kelly brings over 20 years of sales and marketing experience to Lactalis Canada from various CPG organizations, most recently at Wonderbrands where she served as Vice President, Marketing & Category Development. Prior to this, Kelly spent six years at Weston Foods in multiple senior sales roles and six years at McCain Foods in various brand marketing roles.

Paul Cuaso, Director, Corporate Marketing (start date to be confirmed)

In this role, Paul Cuaso will be responsible for driving alignment, consistency and excellence through all marketing processes and projects, and harnessing strategic and developmental insights to drive marketing best practices and tools across Lactalis Canada. Paul is an accomplished marketing professional with over 20 years of CPG experience in Canada. Successfully progressing through multiple roles at General Mills, he most recently served as the Business Unit Director for the snacking category. Paul also has CPG experience from Asia where he began his career in the Philippines working in various marketing capacities at Unilever and Del Monte Inc.

About Lactalis Canada Inc.

With over 140 years of brand heritage, Lactalis Canada is the Canadian dairy leader behind iconic brands Cracker Barrel, Black Diamond, P’tit Québec, Balderson, Cheestrings Ficello, aMOOza!, Astro, Khaas, siggi’s, IÖGO, IÖGO nanö, Olympic, Lactantia, Beatrice, Marie Morin Canada, Galbani, and Président. With more than 30 operating sites including 20 manufacturing facilities, the company and its more than 4000 employees are committed to enriching and nurturing the lives of Canadians through its high-quality products, contribution to communities and partnership with farmers, customers, partners and suppliers. Lactalis Canada is part of Lactalis Group, the world’s leading dairy company, headquartered in Laval, France. For more information, visit


Media Contact:

Lactalis Canada Media Relations