Greater Cincinnati manufacturer names new CEO

Sylvia Buxton has been named president and CEO of Perfetti Van Melle North America, based in Erlanger.

By Bill Cieslewicz – Managing editor, Cincinnati Business Courier

A Boone County-based candy manufacturer has a new leader.

Sylvia Buxton has been named president and CEO of Perfetti Van Melle North America effective Aug. 17. Buxton will succeed Mehmet Yuksek, who announced in July that he is leaving the company after 21 years, including five years as CEO of the U.S. division. Perfetti Van Melle USA saw double-digit organic growth under Yuksek’s tenure and became a top-five player in the confectionery market.

Buxton is a marketing expert who brings more than 30 years’ experience in consumer packaged goods. She joined Perfetti Van Melle in 2016 as vice president of marketing. Since then, she has led marketing strategy for the Airheads and Mentos brands.

Prior to joining Perfetti Van Melle, Buxton worked at the Hershey Co. in such roles as global brand director for Brookside and senior director of America’s Chocolate. Before joining Hershey, Buxton worked in marketing at Reckitt & Coleman in Canada.

Yuksek Mehmet resigned from the CEO role at Perfetti Van Melle North America after 21 years with the company.

“It is a pleasure to appoint Sylvia Buxton, from within our own global pool of executive talent, as successor to Mehmet Yuksek,” Sameer Suneja, CEO of Perfetti Van Melle Global, said in a news release. “We are confident that, together with the leadership team in North America, she will continue to grow our business and strengthen our market position in North America.”

In 2017, Perfetti invested $11 million to increase production in Erlanger, where it manufactures Airheads and Mentos products, and add 50 jobs to its workforce. It grew in personnel by 20 percent and now employs more than 360.

Privately owned Perfetti was founded in 2001 through the merger of Perfetti SpA and van Melle Group B.V. Today, Perfetti employs 18,000 employees worldwide and is one of the largest confectionery groups, manufacturing sugar confectionery and chewing gum products in more than 150 countries. Perfetti van Melle USA reported 2017 revenue of $500 million.

Perfetti van Melle USA opened in Boone County in 1984 as the confectionery manufacturing, sales and U.S. headquarters operation of global confectionery company Perfetti van Melle. The group has corporate headquarters in Italy and the Netherlands.