Gryphon and Portfolio Company News

The Original Cakerie Names Paul Lapadat as CEO of Newly Formed Holding Company

St. Paul, Minnesota & Vancouver and London, Ontario -

The Original Cakerie, a leading manufacturer of high-quality frozen desserts for retail and foodservice customers across North America, today announced that it has named Paul J. Lapadat as Chief Executive Officer of a new holding company established to accelerate growth. Mr. Lapadat, a longtime executive with deep experience leading both consumer product conglomerates and specialty food companies, succeeds Dave Hood who was CEO of The Original Cakerie for more than 20 years. Mr. Hood will become an Advisor to the Board of Directors of The Original Cakerie.

Concurrently, The Original Cakerie announced it has restructured its business under a holding company known as Desserts Holdings, based in St. Paul, MN. Desserts Holdings will allow a shared services model and integrated selling organization between The Original Cakerie and Lawler’s Desserts to better serve current and prospective customers. Both The Original Cakerie and Lawler’s Desserts are portfolio companies of Gryphon Investors, a San Francisco-based middle-market private equity firm.

The Original Cakerie, founded in 1979, is based in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, with a second production facility in London, Ontario. Lawler’s Desserts, a manufacturer of gourmet cheesecakes, layer cakes, pies, and other desserts, is based in Humble, TX. Together, the companies serve over 200 customers in Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Europe.

As part of the transition, Chris W. Rogers has also been named CFO for the Holding Company and will report to Mr. Lapadat in the St. Paul office. Doris Bitz, SVP Retail Sales & Marketing, will become President of The Original Cakerie. The Original Cakerie and Lawler’s Desserts will remain stand-alone, independent operating companies with their own brands. The companies’ manufacturing operations will remain in Delta, London, and the Houston area.

Dennis O’Brien, a Partner at Gryphon Investors and Chairman of the Board of The Original Cakerie, said, “We are pleased to welcome Paul to Desserts Holdings. Having worked closely with him on our previous successful investment in Flagstone Foods, we are very familiar with Paul’s leadership skills and believe he will be instrumental to building this unique platform company. Likewise, we welcome Chris and we are excited to see Doris move into her new role as President. We are fortunate to have attracted leaders of Paul, Chris, and Doris’s caliber. We are equally grateful for Dave Hood’s continuing presence, and expect to take full advantage of his immeasurable product and industry knowledge.”

Mr. Lapadat added, “I am excited to be working alongside Gryphon again to continue to grow this highly respected business in the premium dessert space. The Original Cakerie and Lawler’s Desserts are best-in-class companies and I look forward to working with their teams to increase capabilities and expand our dessert offerings so that our retail and foodservice customers will continue to view us as their company of choice.”

Mr. Hood commented, “I am pleased to have worked with the Gryphon team on the ownership transition of The Original Cakerie and I know it will continue to be viewed as the premier premium frozen desserts company in North America. I look forward to continuing my work as a strategic advisor.”


Paul Lapadat

Mr. Lapadat served as the Chief Executive Officer of Flagstone Foods, Inc., from December 2010 to March 2015, where he was responsible for doubling the size of the business in three years. Prior to that, he was President and Chief Operating Officer of the Snack Foods Group of Conagra Foods Inc. from 2004 to 2010, overseeing consumer favorites such as Slim Jim, Orville Redenbacher’s, ACT II, DAVID, and Crunch ‘n Munch. He joined ConAgra Foods in 2001, when Conagra Foods Inc. acquired International Home Foods. After that transfer, he served as General Manager, Store Brands, for three years from 2001 to 2003. Mr. Lapadat began his career in finance with General Mills and then progressed through the brand marketing ranks with Kraft and Pillsbury. He is also an Independent Director of Inventure Foods, Inc. Mr. Lapadat earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Finance and Accounting from the University of St. Thomas. He also has a Master’s in Business Administration in Marketing from UCLA Anderson School of Management.

Chris W. Rogers

Mr. Rogers has over 24 years of finance experience and most recently was a partner with MGMT3D, a provider of outside operating partner services to private equity firms. While there, he was engaged by Gryphon Investors to serve in a Chief Financial Officer capacity for several portfolio companies. From 2012 to 2015, he was the CFO for Sheplers, a leading western-lifestyle retail brand. From 2011 to 2012, he was the interim CFO and advisor for Flagstone Foods, where he helped to establish the holding company operating structure and led the transition of Ann’s House of Nuts and Amport Foods into Flagstone Foods. Prior to that, Mr. Rogers worked with ConAgra Foods, Inc. in various financial and planning capacities. Mr. Rogers earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Northwestern Missouri State University and holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Creighton University.

Doris Bitz

Doris has been a key member of the leadership team of The Original Cakerie for the past seven years. Most recently, she served as the Senior Vice President, Retail Sales & Marketing. Prior to that, she held the position of Vice President, Marketing, Pepsi-QTG Canada from 2002 to 2008. She began her career at General Mills Canada, progressing through brand marketing ranks in positions of increasing responsibility, culminating in Vice President, Marketing. Doris holds the degree of Honors Bachelor of Arts, Business Administration, and a Masters in Business Administration degree from the Ivey School of Business, Western University, London, Ontario Canada.

About The Original Cakerie

The Original Cakerie, based in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, was established in 1979 as a small industrial bakery producing high-quality desserts for local restaurants in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Today the company is a leading manufacturer of high-quality frozen desserts for retail and foodservice customers across North America.

About Lawler’s Desserts

Lawler’s Desserts is a manufacturer of gourmet cheesecakes, cakes, and pies that are used in restaurants, hotels, and other fine foodservice establishments around the world. The company operates out of Humble, Texas. Customers include national restaurant chains, wholesale clubs, and retail outlets in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe.

About Gryphon Investors

Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors is a leading private equity firm focused on profitably growing and competitively enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. With approximately $2 billion of cumulative equity commitments, the firm has an extensive track record of leading equity investments of $35 million to $150 million per portfolio company with sales ranging from approximately $50 million to $500 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form proactive partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise.


Caroline Luz

Lambert & Co.