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Mars, Inc. announced a merger agreement with Chicago-based Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company in a transaction valued at approximately $23 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Wrigley will become a separate and standalone subsidiary of Mars. The boards of directors of both companies unanimously approved the agreement. The combined company will have a strong foundation in six core growth areas: chocolate, non-chocolate confectionery, gum, food, drinks and petcare.  Wrigley operates three plants in Illinois, and Mars will transfer three of its global, non-chocolate confectionery sugar brands, including Starburst and Skittles, to Wrigley. Following completion of the transaction, Bill Wrigley, Jr. will remain executive chairman of Wrigley, reporting to Paul S. Michaels, global president of Mars, Inc.

Katherine M. J. Swanson, PhD

Katherine M. J. Swanson, PhD, vice president of food safety, Ecolab, received the  2008 NCFST Food Safety Award, presented by the National Center for Food Safety and Technology (NCFST), Illinois Institute of Technology.

High Plains Bioenergy, a subsidiary company of Seaboard Farms Foods, opened its new biodiesel production plant, which will use pork fat from Seaboard’s Guymon, OK processing facility to produce up to 30 million gallons of fuel annually.

Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings, Inc. announced two senior executive changes. Tony Sarsam was named executive vice president of sales and operations, and Rhonda Ramlo was named executive vice president of marketing, replacing Tyler Johnston who will be retiring this summer after 20 years with the company.

Glenn Wright

The Dow Chemical Company named Glenn Wright commercial vice president, North American Basic Plastics. Wright will be primarily responsible for leading all commercial functions across the Basic Plastics and leveraged Performance Plastics portfolios.

La Tortilla Factory appointed Sam Tamayo as vice president and chief operations officer, which includes oversight of all research and development.

PPM (Newberg, OR), a supplier to the global food processing industry, merged with Wright Machinery, headquartered in Middlesex, England. Wright Machinery is a global systems integrator providing advanced seasoning and coating systems, proportional feed systems and fully automated multi-pack systems.

Ennis Parker was named chief executive officer of Facility Group, an integrated program management, design and construction firm. Parker most recently served as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Facility Design Group, the architecture and engineering component of the company.

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