Michael J. Mendes
Michael Mendes is the former CEO of Just Desserts, a high-quality commercial bakery marketing its products across the United States. Just Desserts is a nut free bakery that offers a wide variety of baked goods, including organic, vegan, and gluten free products. Just Desserts offers premium cakes, cupcakes, brownie bites, and mini cakes. The company won Top Honors at the IBIE Best in Baking Competition in 2019. Mendes sold the company to Trive Capital in 2021, who merged the operating company with Rubicon Bakers. Mendes joined the board of the new combined entity.
Mendes founded WBM Holdings LLC in 2014, a real estate firm based in San Francisco which among other investments retains ownership of the former Just Desserts bakery site. Mendes served on the board of Hormel Foods, The Grocery Outlet, The Wine Group, and National Raisin. He has supported industry by serving on the boards of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Snack Food Association, and the California Chamber of Commerce. He has also served on the board of Envision Education and was Chairman of the Board of Directors for the City Ballet of San Francisco.
Prior to Just Desserts, Michael Mendes held various positions at Diamond Foods, Inc. ultimately becoming chairman, president and CEO. During his tenure, Michael transitioned the firm from a cooperative to a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: DMND) with a robust line of products, expanding the Diamond brand and building snack brands Emerald, Pop Secret and Kettle Chips to become leaders in their respective categories. He led the successful acquisition of Pop Secret (formerly owned by General Mills) and Kettle Foods US and UK, expanding the global penetration of the business. Michael led a major recapitalization of the operations, enabling significant cost reduction and improve quality and reliability. He implemented a robust and highly prolific new product development process. He established a German subsidiary to provide distribution and marketing support to Europe, the Middle East and the Nordic region. Through the use of integrated marketing campaign featuring high profile event such as the Academy Awards, the Super Bowl, and NCAA March Madness, the company achieved in excess of 10% average annual retail growth. Mendes grew the company to more than $1 Billion in annual sales, earning double digit EBITDA. The company’s 2007 advertisement during Super Bowl XLI, was named one of the Top 10 Super Bowl ads of all time. In 2010, Mendes was recognized as the Bay Area Most Admired CEO for Public Companies over $500M.
Michael is married to Dr. Wendy Berry Mendes, the Sarlo/Ekman Endowed Chair in the Study of Human Emotion and the Professor and Deputy Vice-Chair of the Research Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Michael has an MBA from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.