Craig Leese served as Chief Financial and Administrative Officer of Evans Food Group LTD, since 2016. As CFO, Leese helped to professionalize a former family-led business, while generating outstanding financial results and delivering superior investor returns. Mr. Leese has compiled a track record of business improvement by combining strong financial and analytical skills with a commercial marketplace orientation, built upon principles learned in strategy consulting.
As CFO at Evans, Leese was responsible for the Company’s financial, IT, HR, legal and customer service activities, and he also played a key role in commercial decision-making and procurement. He upgraded the finance team, recruiting both a strong Controller and Director of FP&A. He was responsible for implementing an ERP system, and for quickly transitioning two tuck-in acquisitions onto the ERP. His team led the work to measure customer- and product-profitability, leading to price increases on lower-margin accounts and several rounds of customer and product line simplification. He was also the point person for the process of selling Evans, working closely with the investment bankers, transaction services accountants, and outside counsel.
During his tenure, he reported directly to two Chief Executive Officers and provided strategic direction and
advice to the company, its Board of Directors, and its private equity sponsors. He left Evans in August 2020,
after transitioning his duties to incoming executives.
Prior to his role at Evans, Leese served in executive roles at several large consumer products companies.
Notably, Leese led the strategic evaluation of the Sara Lee Fresh Bakery, which demonstrated that returns in
the industry were driven by average local market share and cumulative manufacturing investment. He spent
many years at PepsiCo, beginning atop a warehouse in Birmingham, AL, learning the fundamentals of the
Frito-Lay US business, then leading Financial Planning & Analysis for Frito-Lay NA and then for PepsiCo
overall. Leese served as Assistant to the Chairman Steve Reinemund, while also leading the financial
planning of the merger with Quaker Oats. In these roles, he gained experience in developing materials for the
Board, investor relations, and the SEC. He began his career at Bain & Company, where he developed a
strong foundation of strategic principles and analytical skills.
Mr. Leese serves on the Board of Bubbies Homemade Ice Cream & Desserts, a fast-growing leader in mochi
ice cream, where he is head of the Audit Committee and serves on the Finance Committee. He has also
served on both the Board of Directors and the Board of Elders at St Matthew Lutheran Church in Barrington,
Mr. Leese is a 1983 summa cum laude graduate of Duke University and a member of Phi Beta Kappa. He
received his MBA from the University of North Carolina in 1987. He and his wife, Kristin Leese, have three
children and have recently relocated to Raleigh, North Carolina.