Hallatt tragedy hits Mars merger plan

The death of Tony Hallatt,president of Mars-owned Master Foods and Petcare Europe, has thrown Mars’s plans for its recently merged divisions into disarray.

Sources close to the company say that Mars will struggle to find a successor to Hallatt, killed in a car crash on July 21, who can handle the continuing process of bringing the two divisions together.

The company has merged its Pedigree Petfoods and Master Foods divisions across Europe into a single company likely to be known as Master Brands.

Hallatt headed the management group overseeing the merger and a successor has yet to be appointed.

Mars says there is no “crown prince” who can step into Hallatt’s shoes, although it points to the strength of the management group overseeing the process.

“Tony was actively engaged in the whole thing, but we have a strong management group involved. These things do not happen overnight and the process will continue,” says a spokesman.

Hallatt had been with Mars for nearly 20 years, joining as a brand manager at Master Foods. Subsequent promotions included marketing director of Pedigree Petfoods.