Food titan Mars is taking no prisoners in its attempt to turn around its sagging candy sales operation and has fired US snack unit president Martyn Wilkes.

Mars North America president Bob Gamgort, stung by an 11% decline in the Snickers brand and sliding sales of Starburst and Twix among others, has taken it upon himself to breathe life into the fading portfolio.

In a company memo he explains: "We need to move faster and more decisively if we're going to win in the marketplace and, as a result, I've decided to make a change in leadership."

The decision to part company with Wilkes, a 20-year Mars veteran, is indicative of a more aggressive culture within the family-owned business.

Gamgort has already cut trade support to underperforming brands such as Aquadrops mints, Cookies & and Pop'ables candy [WAMN: 11-Apr-06] and has shaken up the company's ad agency roster.

The reshuffle by the New Jersey-headquartered firm has included the $38 million (€29.8m; £20.6m) Snickers business moving to TBWA Worldwide from BBDO and Twix's shift from Grey Worldwide to Nitro.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff