Dec 16, 2021Former US Potato Board exec Mac Johnson dead at 74
Mac Johnson, a major force in the snack food world and a produce marketing icon, passed away Dec. 12 in Newnan, Georgia, due to complications from cancer. He was 74.
Johnson joined Category Partners as CEO, when it was founded in 2008. He spent the better part of a decade working and growing with clients and retailers, investing time, knowledge and experience to create a powerful team, who will deeply miss him. He ended his distinguished career at Category Partners in 2017, retiring to the Atlanta area to be closer to his family and to spend more time on the golf course than in the board room.
Mac got his feet wet in the produce industry when he joined the U.S. Potato Board, now Potatoes USA, in 2000 as a senior vice president of marketing for the Denver-based association. He spent eight years building programs and resources in support of potato growers and marketers all across the country. Johnson’s professional and personal impact in the industry is felt today and will be for years to come.
Prior to potatoes, Johnson was a senior marketing executive at Tom’s Foods for more than 17 years. He interfaced with all departments within the company and worked closely with 700 distributors, operating over 2,000 sales routes. At least half of Mac’s life was powered by either peanuts or potatoes.
“Mac and I shared many a plane trip and meal together as we ran distribution meetings all over the country,” said Jerry Killough, former Vice President Sales, Tom’s Foods. “Under his leadership, Tom’s experienced growth through new product innovation, branding, and packaging upgrades.
“He was an absolute professional and he will always be my friend.”
Johnson is survived by his wife Joann, sister Susan, adult son Keith and grandchildren Addison and Carson.
“My dad never knew a stranger,” said Keith Johnson, the sales director of global tech at consulting firm Roboyo. “He was a friend to everyone, a mentor to many, and he magically balanced his professional confidence with a disarming humble nature. The lives and careers of many, including mine, were shaped by this very special man. He will be missed but never forgotten.”
Due to the current travel climate and holiday season, a celebration of life will be scheduled for early 2022.
If you would like to provide photos, stories or would like to be notified when the event is scheduled, email [email protected].
Mac spent most of his life helping to distribute high-quality affordable food across America. If you would like to honor him, visit teamfeed.feedingamerica.org/participant/InMemoryofMac and provide a donation.