Carthage College: HARIBO executive Rick LaBerge joins board

KENOSHA, Wis. – Rick LaBerge, who has built iconic brands as a leader in global sales and marketing strategy for more than 25 years, has been elected to the Carthage College Board of Trustees.

LaBerge is the executive vice president and chief operating officer at HARIBO of America, the fastest growing confectionery company in the United States. By producing innovative sweet treats, increasing distribution, and launching engaging media campaigns, he has helped the U.S. business to double in growth over the past five years.

“We are thrilled by HARIBO’s commitment and investments in our community, and Rick LaBerge’s board service is a wonderful next step as Carthage and HARIBO deepen our partnership,” said Carthage president John Swallow.

Construction of HARIBO’s first North American production facility is underway in Pleasant Prairie, a few miles southwest of the Carthage campus. The 100-year-old candy company and inventor of the gummi bear will create hundreds of career opportunities in the first phase of construction, with more to come.

The recently established HARIBO Scholars Fund provides annual scholarships for Carthage students from Wisconsin or Illinois who need financial assistance. In thanks for the company’s $250,000 gift, the college dedicated the HARIBO Pool inside its Koenitzer Aquatic Center.

“I’m honored to join the Carthage College Board of Trustees and become part of this inspiring group of leaders,” LaBerge said. “HARIBO and Carthage have already partnered in shared values on the scholarship fund, helping students in need finish their education, and I’m looking forward to the great things we’ll accomplish together to continue to uplift and give back to students and the community.”

Before joining HARIBO, LaBerge was vice president of sales for Mars Inc., where he dramatically reorganized the chocolate segment in North America. At Johnson & Johnson, he helped turn Splenda into a household name and moved Pepcid AC brand from prescription to over-the-counter offering.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in marketing and business economics from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Cornell University in New York. He is an active member of the board for both Food and Beverage Wisconsin and the German American Business Council.

The Board of Trustees will officially welcome LaBerge as a Carthage trustee at its October meeting. The board has ultimate governing and fiduciary responsibility for the college.