Skip to main content

Corporate & Financial News

J. M. Smucker Declares Dividend; Announces Board of Director Changes

Orrville, Ohio, January 31, 2003 – The board of directors of The J. M. Smucker Company (NYSE: SJM) declared a $.20 per share dividend on the common shares of the Company to be paid on March 3, 2003, to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 14, 2003.

The Company also announced that R. Douglas Cowan and Gary A. Oatey have joined the Company's board of directors, effective today.

Mr. Cowan is chairman and CEO of The Davey Tree Expert Company, an employee owned company providing horticultural services throughout the United States and Canada. Mr. Cowan has been a member of the Davey board of directors since 1982. He also serves as a director on the boards of Lexicomp, Inc. and the Great Lakes Construction Company, both privately owned companies located in Northeast Ohio. Mr. Cowan is currently serving a three-year term as a member of the Business Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and a nine-year term as a member of the Board of Trustees of Kent State University.

Mr. Oatey is chairman and CEO of Oatey Co., a privately owned manufacturer of plumbing products sold throughout the world, with plants located in Ohio, Texas, Minnesota, California, Colorado, and Mexico. Mr. Oatey also serves as a director of several other privately held companies and is active in numerous civic and community activities in the Cleveland area. He is currently the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland, Ohio.

“Both Mr. Cowan and Mr. Oatey are outstanding additions to our board and we are pleased that they have decided to join us”, said Tim Smucker, chairman and co-CEO. “They both lead local companies that share similar business ethics and beliefs as the Smucker Company. In addition, we believe our board and management team will benefit from the addition of these independent directors to our board.”

The board of directors also accepted the resignation of William Wrigley, Jr., president and CEO of Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, who has served on The J. M. Smucker Company board since 1991. In explaining to the Company the reasons for his decision to resign, Mr. Wrigley noted that while he has served on the Smucker board, Richard K. Smucker, president and Co-CEO of Smucker, has served on the Wrigley board. While there is no technical problem with such cross-representation, Mr. Wrigley observed that in these days of heightened corporate governance awareness, he believed that it would be in the best interests of both companies to eliminate any potential future basis for concern among investors.

Commenting on Mr. Wrigley's resignation, Richard K. Smucker stated, “While we regret losing Bill, we understand and agree with his concern with regard to possible objections to continued cross-representation on our respective boards. Bill's many contributions to our board and his support of the Company have been invaluable. We thank him for his years of service to the Smucker Company and wish him well as he continues to guide the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company.” Mr. Smucker will continue to serve on the Wrigley board.

Following these changes, The J. M. Smucker Company board will consist of ten members, including six who the Company believes are independent within the meaning of the New York Stock Exchange's new listing standard.

The J. M. Smucker Company ( was founded in 1897 when the Company's namesake and founder sold his first product -- apple butter -- from the back of a horse-drawn wagon. Today, over a century later, the Company is the market leader in fruit spreads, ice cream toppings, health and natural foods beverages, and natural peanut butter in North America. In June of 2002, the Company further enhanced its leadership position with the addition of JifÒ peanut butter and CriscoÒ shortening and oils to the Smucker family of brands. For over 100 years, the Company has been headquartered in Orrville, Ohio, and has been family run for four generations. The J. M. Smucker Company has 2,700 employees worldwide and distributes products in more than 45 countries

Contact: Steven J. Ellcessor, Vice President – Finance and Administration and Chief Financial Officer, The J. M. Smucker Company, (330) 682-3000.

More To Explore

Great things are happening at The J.M. Smucker Co See for yourself.

Brands You Know and Love
Thriving Together: How We Define Success
Check out Inside Smucker