Central
Leadership Team

Tim Cofer
Chief Executive Officer
Tim with Toby
Tim is the Chief Executive Officer of Central Garden & Pet and is responsible for leading the broad, $2.5 billion portfolio of 65+ garden and pet brands with a team of over 6,000 employees across the United States, Europe and China. With over 30 years of experience in the Consumer-Packaged Goods industry, Tim is committed to leading businesses that drive sustainable, profitable growth and create consistent shareholder value. Prior to joining Central in mid-2019, Tim served in key leadership positions and held general management roles, including Chief Growth Officer of Mondelez International, President of Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa Mondelez International, President of Kraft Foods Europe, President of Kraft Pizza Company and President of Oscar Mayer Foods.  Tim earned a BA in Economics and Political Science from St. Olaf College and received his MBA from the University of Minnesota.

Glen Axelrod
Senior Vice President, Dog & Cat Brands
Glen with Donatello & Leonardo
Glen is part of the original family that founded TFH in 1952 which was purchased by Central Garden & Pet in 1997. He currently oversees TFH, Nylabone, Four Paws and IMS. Glen was critical to Central’s acquisition of IMS and its integration into Central’s Dog & Cat Brands portfolio. Today, TFH is known as a leading innovator in the pet products industry, and specifically dog chews, as well as the leader in the pet publishing industry.  Glen received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Rutgers College, Rutgers University, in Biological Sciences and his Masters of Science in Ichthyology/Zoology from the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Rhodes University. In 1978, Glen became a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London.

Jon Balousek
President, Corporate Development
Glen with Donatello & Leonardo
Jon is President of Central Garden & Pet’s Corporate Development where he is responsible for leading the company’s Mergers and Acquisitions activities, Central Ventures, the company’s venture fund, and he also plays a key leadership role in executing critical priorities for the company’s long-term strategy and plans. Prior to joining Central, Jon spent 25 years at The Clorox Company. During his Clorox tenure, Jon held various General Manager roles as well as senior Marketing roles, including running Marketing for the two largest Clorox Divisions.  Throughout his Clorox career Jon grew the market share and profitability of many iconic consumer brands through strong product and commercial innovation as well as smart cost controls. He currently serves as an Advisory Board Member for Fetch Rewards, a consumer loyalty technology platform with over three million unique users, and as a member of the Board of Trustees, University of San Diego.</br></br>Jon holds a Bachelor of Arts Communications degree from UCLA.

John Hanson
President, Pet Consumer Products
John with Badger
John Hanson joined Central Garden & Pet as President of Pet Consumer Products in August of 2019 after serving as a Board member since 2018. John has a wealth of experience in consumer products and has previously held several leadership roles in sales, marketing, and general management, most notably at ConAgra. John spent almost 17 years with the company and was the President of its Frozen Foods Division for 4 years. In that role, John grew the business from approximately $1.7 to over $2.5 billion in sales, growing both organically and through acquisition. After leaving ConAgra, John focused on strategic and operational consulting, including M&A, in the consumer products industry.  John earned his BA in Management & Marketing and his MBA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Business School.

Ken Elsbury
Senior Vice President, Central Life Sciences
John with Badger
Ken is Senior Vice President of Central Garden & Pet’s Central Life Sciences business where he leads the company’s operations dedicated to consumer and professionally applied solutions supporting human and animal health.  Ken has over 32 years of general management, supply chain management and commercial leadership experience in the consumer-packaged goods industry and in the agricultural inputs industry. Prior to joining Central, Ken was most recently the CEO for SunGro Horticulture. Ken was a 10 year 4-H member and has an impressive background of volunteerism and contributions across an assortment of industry boards. Ken has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University with an emphasis in management accounting and organizational behavior.

Nicholas “Niko” Lahanas
Chief Financial Officer
Niko with Finley
Niko Lahanas joined Central Garden & Pet in 2006 and has held a variety of finance positions within the company. He most recently served as a Senior Vice President of Finance, Operations Management & Reporting and Chief Financial Officer of Central’s Pet Segment. Formerly he held positions as Vice President of Corporate Financial Planning & Analysis, and Director of Business Performance, focusing on business unit profitability.  Prior to joining Central, Niko worked in private equity and investment banking for over eight years.  Niko holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from University of California, Berkeley and a Master’s of Business Administration degree from The George Washington University.

Marilyn Leahy
Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Marilyn with Lizzie
Marilyn joined Central Human Resources in October, 2011 as the Vice President of Human Resources/Business Partner for Supply Chain & Finance, Accounting and IT. Marilyn was promoted to the Vice President of HR in September of 2013 and the Senior Vice President of HR in October 2016. Prior to joining Central, Marilyn was the Head of Global Change Management for The Roche Group and was a Sr. Director of Human Resources for Roche Diagnostics for over seven years. Before Roche, Marilyn held various roles of increasing responsibility at The Clorox Company over a 13-year period.  Marilyn is a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Michigan’s Advanced HR Executive Program.

Mike McGoohan
Senior Vice President, Marketing & Strategy
Dan with Diesel
Mike is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategy where he is responsible for leading the company’s consumer insights, marketing, innovation and eCommerce functions as well as overseeing the strategic priorities of the company’s long-term strategy. His prior experience includes time as Chief Marketing Officer at Performance Health where he led their global growth agenda, including brand marketing, innovation, digital and strategy. Before his role at Performance Health, Mike served as Vice President and Global Head of Strategy, Insights & Analytics at Mondelēz International. He has twenty years of business experience and has a proven track record of driving growth and creating value in small and large, private and public enterprises.

William “Dan” Pennington
Senior Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Pennington Seed
Dan with Diesel
Dan is currently the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Pennington Seed. He started working in the family business in 1972, undertaking many initiatives and roles until 1982 when he was promoted to Wild Bird Feed Manager. In 1984 he was promoted to an Executive Vice President. In 2014, Dan was promoted into a Senior Vice President-Chief Operating Officer role with Pennington.  Dan attended Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and has a degree in Agri Business, plus numerous additional courses in management.

J.D. Walker
President, Garden Consumer Products
JD with Romeo
J.D. joined Central Garden & Pet in January of 2011 and has responsibility for Central's branded garden business including: sales, marketing operations, the Controls, Grass Seed, Décor and Vendor Partner business units, as well as the Retail Sales and Service Team (RSST) and Garden Distribution. In total, J.D. has over thirty-six years of experience in consumer packaged goods and more than eighteen years in the lawn and garden industry, holding increasingly senior positions with Spectrum Brands, Gillette, and Duracell.  J.D. holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from the University of Louisville, and is a graduate of The General Manager Program (TGMP) of Harvard University.

Chris Walter
Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer
Chris with Louie
Chris is the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Central Garden & Pet. In his role, he oversees the company’s Digital & Technical Operations, Information Services, Digital Marketing & B2B eCommerce strategies -- ensuring alignment across the company’s technology platforms. A data-driven and innovative leader, Chris is committed to driving transformative change and unlocking revenue potential across Central’s portfolio of brands and businesses. Over his 15-year tenure, Chris has led many of Central’s key strategic technology initiatives, including retiring 30 ERP systems across Central’s businesses and launching the company’s B2B eCommerce platform.  Prior to joining Central, Chris spent nine years in the Price Waterhouse / PricewaterhouseCoopers Management Consulting practice where he served a diverse set of global clients.  Chris holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration / Industrial Distribution Management from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at the University of Chicago.

George Yuhas
General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
George with Rosie
George has served as General Counsel to Central Garden & Pet since 2011 and is also the Corporate Secretary. Before joining Central, George was a partner in the firm of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLC specializing in commercial litigation. During his more than thirty years with that firm, George developed experience in a wide range of subject areas, including mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, employment and regulatory matters and has argued before the United States Supreme Court. George was for many years the head of the pro bono program while at Orrick.  George has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Chicago and obtained a JD from Stanford University.