Dougherty joins Roland Foods as CEO

Roland Foods LLC, a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners, said Sept. 9 that Keith Dougherty has joined the company as chief executive officer. Tyler Hawes, who has led Roland since the retirement of former CEO Jim Wagner this spring, will continue to serve as president. Dougherty was most recently senior vice president, merchandising, pricing & inventory at Essendant Inc.


NEW YORK, NY – September 9, 2019 – Roland Foods, LLC, a leading importer of high-quality specialty food products and a portfolio company of Vestar Capital Partners, today announced that Keith Dougherty has joined the company as chief executive officer, effective immediately. Tyler Hawes, who has led Roland since the retirement of former CEO Jim Wagner this spring, will continue to serve as president of Roland.
Mr. Dougherty has held various leadership positions in merchandising, sales and general management over his career. Most recently, he was senior vice president, Merchandising, Pricing & Inventory at Essendant, Inc., a $5 billion distributor of workplace items. Previously, Mr. Dougherty served in several leadership positions at US Foods, a $24 billion foodservice distributor, including senior vice president of Category Management, Indirect Spend, National Sales, and Pricing. As senior vice president of Corporate Development, he led 10 acquisitions at US Foods.
Mr. Dougherty began his career in investment banking at Salomon Smith Barney, where he rose to vice president on a team focused on private equity, executing more than 40 transactions. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering from Princeton University.
“This is an exciting time to join Roland, as consumer demand for high-quality, specialty food has never been stronger,” said Mr. Dougherty. “Roland’s extensive, high-quality product line, along with its reputation for innovative customer solutions, makes it a true leader in the industry. I look forward to working closely with Tyler, the Roland management team, and Vestar Capital to help lead Roland on its next stage of development.”
“Keith is an outstanding executive, with the skills and leadership experience that will help Roland develop and execute a customer-focused strategy leveraging the company’s many strengths,” said Dan O’Connell, CEO of Vestar. “We would also like to thank Tyler for expertly guiding Roland over the last few quarters. We believe that Tyler and Keith are the right dynamic team to lead Roland, and we are upbeat about the Company’s future.”
About Roland Foods
Roland Foods, based in New York City, specializes in importing high-quality specialty food products from more than 50 countries. Founded in Paris in 1934 and established in the U.S. in 1939, the Company provides customers with exceptional specialty foods, primarily offered under the Roland brand. Also part of the Roland family is Albert Uster Imports, a leading importer of specialty pastry, bakery, and confectionary products to professional chefs and bakers for 50 years. The company has a national presence in the foodservice, retail, and industrial channels as well as international sales in the Caribbean, Central and South America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Roland Foods’ dedication to providing quality and consistency has made it a leader among food importers and suppliers. The Roland brand is synonymous with quality for the consumer and chef alike. For more information, please visit

About Vestar Capital Partners

Vestar Capital Partners is a leading U.S. middle-market private equity firm specializing in management buyouts and growth capital investments. Vestar invests and collaborates with incumbent management teams and private owners to build long-term enterprise value, with a focus on Consumer, Healthcare, and Business Services. Since its founding in 1988, Vestar funds have invested $8 billion of capital in more than 80 investments in companies – as well as more than 200 add-on acquisitions – with a total value of approximately $50 billion. For more information on Vestar, please visit