IRVINE, Calif., (May 11, 2023) – One of the largest diversified suppliers to the foodservice and retail industries, Golden State Foods (GSF) today announces with profound sadness that its beloved Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mark Wetterau, has passed after 25 years of dedicated service and outstanding leadership of GSF. Surrounded by his loving family, Wetterau died peacefully at home due to ongoing health issues.
Despite this great loss, GSF and its family of companies are solid and growing, as the organization continues to focus on best supporting its customers in various industries and markets served throughout the world. GSF’s senior executive and management teams are strong, as they continue to strategically guide the organization, while its operations teams effectively execute the company’s day-to-day business with quality and care. As a management-owned and run organization, GSF will continue to operate with the same high standards and ideals that have made the organization successful during the last 76 years, including the company Creed and Values, so closely associated with Mark and which all GSF associates strive to exemplify every day.
Golden State Foods’ long, ongoing legacy with the Wetterau family will continue. Conrad Wetterau, Mark’s brother, business partner, and 25-year GSF Board Member, has been elected to serve as GSF’s Chairman of the Board of Directors, effective immediately. GSF’s current, 13-year Vice Chairman of the Board and former Chief Financial Officer of 12 years, Mike Waitukaitis, will continue to serve as Vice Chairman of the GSF Board of Directors, effective immediately. Conrad Wetterau and Mike Waitukaitis are both co-owners of Wetterau Associates, GSF’s purchaser in 1998.
“Mike and I are deeply dedicated to GSF’s continued, long-term success,” said Conrad Wetterau. “Despite the significant loss of my dear brother, best friend, and long-time GSF leader, Mark, we will continue to build on the incredible momentum of this thriving organization to best serve our valued customers at the highest levels throughout the world.”
“GSF’s people, culture, and customers are second to none,” added Waitukaitis. “During this time of transition, Golden State Foods and our family of companies will continue to be led in the same Wetterau family spirit, guided by our foundational Creed and Values, and company goals and objectives. Mark’s legacy will continue to live on at GSF, as we, his dedicated business colleagues will forever remember him as a charismatic, energetic leader, who tirelessly inspired his fellow associates and teams to achieve more than they ever thought possible, to seek the ultimate success of all our stakeholders, as it states in our Creed.”
Additionally, Mark’s son, Stephen Wetterau, 14-year GSF associate and Vice President, Logistics, Quality Custom Distribution (QCD), will continue to play a strong leadership role in the company. In addition to his current role, Stephen has been elected to the elevated role of GSF Board Member, effective immediately, furthering the Wetterau culture and traditions.
“My dad always said that ‘our people are our greatest asset,’” added Stephen. “And it’s the partnership between our associates, our customers and other partners that will enable our mutual success. As we move forward, that partnership, along with our unique culture, will be our driving force as we continue on together to best serve each of our customers around the world.”
Mark is survived by his wife of 39 years, Virginia (“Ginny”); his three children, M. Stephen Jr., Elizabeth Bakman (Shaymus), and Olivia Luce (Bryn); his three grandchildren, Dean, Cole, and Lily Bakman; his brother, T. Conrad (Marguerite), and his sister, Elizabeth W. Harbison (Keith).
For Mark’s full obituary, please visit goldenstatefoods.com/mark-wetterau.
About Golden State Foods
Golden State Foods (GSF), one of the largest diversified suppliers to the foodservice and retail industries, feeds one billion people every day! Headquartered in Irvine, California, the multi-national company is values-based with proven performance in superior quality, innovation, and customer service. Established in 1947, GSF and its family of companies currently service 200+ leading brands (125,000+ restaurants/stores in more than 50 countries) from its 50 locations on five continents. Its core businesses include: manufacturing of liquid products, protein, produce, dairy/aseptic, and provides custom distribution services. The company employs approximately 6,000 associates and is management-owned and run. Golden State Foods also operates a national non-profit organization, the GSF Foundation.
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