Klement Sausage names Smithfield exec as new CEO

Sausage links are tied after being stuffed with meat at Klement’s Chase Avenue plant.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:23 pm

Milwaukee-based Klement Sausage Co. has named Tom Danneker as president and chief executive officer.

Sausage links are tied after being stuffed with meat at Klement’s Chase Avenue plant.

In an announcement Tuesday, the company said the transition was effective Jan. 1 and that Ray Booth, the former president and CEO, would stay with the company in an advisory role until he official retires in early May.

Danneker comes to Klement’s after several years as vice president and general manager of fresh sausage at Smithfield Foods. He’s also held leadership roles at Vista International Packaging and Johnsonville Sausage.

“I’ve been a fan of Klement’s products throughout my 25 years in the meat industry,” Danneker said in a statement. “I have a deep respect for Klement’s commitment to making exceptional sausage and their strong ties with local communities throughout Wisconsin.”

He added that as a University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate and Wisconsin resident for most of his life he understands the passion and dedication the Klement family and current and former employees have for the brand.

Klement was acquired by California-based Altamont Capital Partners in 2014 after 58 years of family ownership and then began operating as part of Tall Tree Foods Holding Co. Booth oversaw the transition to new ownership and the company’s decision in 2016 to move its headquarters to the Pabst Professional Center in downtown Milwaukee.

Booth called it “an honor to lead the talented and passionate Klement’s team.”

“While planning for this leadership transition and my retirement, Klement’s has diligently sought the right CEO to lead the company through this next phase of continued growth,” Booth said. “Tom is an experienced and proven executive with a wealth of industry experience, and I know that I leave the company in good hands.”

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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