Michigan Ross Alum Named CEO of Iconic Candy Company

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Get ready for a blast of nostalgia, because a Michigan Ross grad was just named to the top job at one of your favorite childhood candy companies.

Whether it’s  Bazooka gum wrapped in silly comics to make you giggle, Ring Pops and Push Pops to adorn your fingers with shiny sheen and delicious flavors, or the the latest baseball and football cards to swap with your friends, you probably have experienced a Topps’ Co. product and have a childhood connection to the brand.

Michael Brandstaedter, MBA ’97, was recently named CEO of Topps. Brandstaedter has been with the company since 2009, and has risen in roles from general manager of the global confectionery business to president and chief operating officer. He has also worked in marketing roles at Nabisco and Kraft foods, overseeing brands such as Lifesavers, Oreo, and Planters nuts.

As the head of the company, Brandstaedter will lead the organization through continued digital transformation and expansion, something he’s had experience with already.

“Mike’s continued success can be attributed to his deep knowledge of our brands, focused leadership and unmatched passion for the company's products, customers and employees,” said Andy Redman, president and chief operating officer of Tornante and chairman of Topps. “He’s led Topps’ expansion in confectionery, brought new licenses to sports and entertainment and enabled rapid digital evolution. I couldn't be more confident in our decision to appoint Mike to drive the next stage of expansion for Topps.”

Topps was founded in Brooklyn, NY in 1938 as a gum company, a strategy to pivot from the Shorin family’s struggling tobacco distribution business. Today, Topps is known more for the trading cards that accompany the gum than for the gum itself.