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PE-backed C.J. Foods adds Wagstaff to board

C.J. Foods Inc, a maker of specialty pet food, has named Paul Wagstaff to its board of directors.

C.J. Foods Inc, a maker of specialty pet food, has named Paul Wagstaff to its board of directors. Wagstaff is the co-founder of Embassy Park Investment Company LLC. CJF is a portfolio company of J. H. Whitney Capital Partners.


BERN, Kan.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–C.J. Foods, Inc., (“CJF”), a custom manufacturer of a broad portfolio of specialty pet food for leading U.S. super premium brands, has appointed Paul Wagstaff, an industry leader in consumer packaged goods and merger and acquisition integration, to its board of directors. The board was expanded following the company’s acquisition of American Nutrition, Inc., (“ANI”), and the combined entity is the largest independent manufacturer of super premium pet food in the country, producing more than one billion pounds of pet food annually.

Wagstaff joins CJF by transitioning from his former role serving on the advisory board of ANI. He will concentrate his efforts on bringing his expertise in consumer product marketing to expand the company’s innovation portfolio. The board also includes Tod Morgan and Bill Behnken, who previously led CJF and ANI, respectively.

“Paul brings his expertise in the consumable category to drive our innovation agenda,” said David McLain, CEO, C.J. Foods. “He also brings deep experience and keen insight on how to integrate companies following an acquisition, and we believe that his counsel will create a major impact.”

Wagstaff is the co-founder of Embassy Park Investment Company LLC, an investment and advisory firm that acts as both an investor and advisor to businesses in the manufacturing and or sales and marketing of branded, private label and co-manufactured food products. Previously, Wagstaff was co-founder and CEO of Eagle Family Foods, a private equity backed CPG food company which he established after completing the platform acquisition of Eagle Brand Milk from The J.M. Smucker Company. Wagstaff also served as president of The J.M. Smucker Company US Retail Consumer Foods Division where he successfully led a $2.4 billion business in net sales.

“The expanded product portfolio and national manufacturing footprint resulting from this acquisition has created a range of opportunities for us,” said Wagstaff. “I’m looking forward to being part of a team that redefines the pet food category for our customers and their consumers.”

CJF is a portfolio company of J. H. Whitney Capital Partners, (“JH Whitney”), a Connecticut based private equity firm that has owned C.J. Foods since 2014, acquiring Lortscher’s Animal Nutrition (LANI) in 2018 and most recently completing the acquisition of ANI on February 17, 2020.

About C.J. Foods, Inc.
Founded in 1985, by the Chuck & Joyce Kuenzi, C.J. Foods, Inc., (“CJF”), is a manufacturer of many of the most sophisticated brands of dry Super Premium Pet food in America. CJF is known for its dedication to producing only the highest quality and safest products in the category. CJF currently serves over 40 leading super premium brands selling into the US and International markets and employs more than 400 people with campuses in Pawnee City, NE, Bern, KS, Baxter Springs, KS and Brownwood, TX. The portfolio includes Lortscher Animal Nutrition, Inc.,(LANI), a leader of custom milling and ingredient supply to the pet food industry for over sixty years, which was acquired in April 2018. To learn more about C.J. Foods, Inc., visit our website at

About American Nutrition, Inc.
Founded in 1972 by Jack Behnken, American Nutrition, Inc., (“ANI”), is one of the nation’s largest pet food manufacturers specializing in super premium dry kibble, canned and baked treats. American Nutrition has five state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Washington, Utah and Pennsylvania with over 400 employees serving numerous national brands as well as international brands in 17 countries worldwide. As a second-generation family-owned company, ANI has always held the highest standards of integrity, quality and safety in everything they do upholding their purpose to nourish and enrich the lifelong connection between people and their pets.

To learn more about American Nutrition, Inc., visit their website at

About J. H. Whitney Capital Partners
J.H. Whitney Capital Partners, (“JHW”), established in 1946 by the industrialist and philanthropist, John Hay “Jock” Whitney, was one of the first U.S. private equity firms and is often credited with pioneering the development of the private equity industry. Today, JHW is a leader in the private equity industry, having invested in over 400 companies since formation and currently manages approximately $1.0 billion in private capital. JHW remains privately owned by its investing professionals and focused on three primary sectors; consumer, healthcare and specialty manufacturing. To learn more about JH Whitney Inc. please visit the website at