For only the third time in its 47-year history, Lawry's Foods has named a chief executive, Thomas N. Fuelling, who assumes the post from Richard Frank, 62. Frank, who was elevated to chairman, had held the chief executive post since 1956, when he succeeded his father, the late Lawrence Frank, who founded the company in 1938.
Fuelling, 52, also was named president of the Los Angeles-based specialty food products company.
Fuelling started as a sales analyst with Lawry's in 1957. He was the company's first international sales manager and helped develop Lawry's overseas markets starting in 1960.
Lawry's is a subsidiary of Thomas J. Lipton Inc., which in turn is owned by the giant Anglo-Dutch company Unilever. Lipton, based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., became interested in Lawry's partly because of its overseas presence, Fuelling said.
"Lipton saw our value as being a West Coast company . . . with the unique ability to create new seasoning concepts," Fuelling said last week. "My challenge is to create new ways to season foods and new ways to make the whole cooking experience more interesting."