Rich helped create over $3 billion in enterprise value as CEO of American Italian Pasta Company, The Meow Mix Company, and Freshpet.
Rich Thompson has been a serial entrepreneur since high school, when he launched a business making centerpieces for tables at Pizza Hut. With his earnings from the sale of that enterprise, he moved to Belize to fish, dive and explore, and ended up building, operating, and eventually selling a popular resort. Returning to the U.S., he built a successful oil drilling business. It was while drilling for oil in North Dakota that he conceived the idea of building a pasta plant in the middle of a durum wheat field. In 1986, after several years as an apprentice in Italy, he launched the American Italian Pasta Company (AIPC). AIPC grew to supply private label pasta to 19 of the top 20 supermarket chains in the U.S., including Publix. With four domestic plants and one in Italy, the company became the largest pasta manufacturer by volume in North America before being sold in 2010.
During that time, he teamed up with a private equity firm in 2001 to purchase the Meow Mix cat food brand. He grew value with the rapid development and deployment of new branded products, a few key innovative marketing stunts, and a newly designed Meow Mix factory. As the CEO, the company was acquired twice, in 2003 and again in 2006. Free and clear of both AIPC and Meow Mix, Thompson joined Fresh pet in 2010 and ascended to the CEO role in 2011. In the span of five years, he led sales growth from $12 million to $120 million, and launched the brand in the U.K. In 2014, he led the company to a public IPO, where today it is valued at close to $2 billion.
With his wealth of experience, and as founder and managing partner at Factory LLC, Thompson leads a one-of-a-kind investment company that, in addition to capital, provides strategic guidance to food, beverage, and pet entrepreneurs in areas like marketing, supply chain, new product development, and sales.
This event will take place in the Jenkins Field House at Florida Southern College.
General event parking will be in Lot C.
Table sponsorship opportunites are available if you wish to be a sponsor of this year’s CEO100 event.