Irresistible as they are, it really wasn’t the cakes that led Laurence Weilheimer to take the job as GC of Philadelphia’s Tasty Baking Co. Instead, it was the chance to be part of a small management team working to restructure and reinvigorate a beloved old business. As Weilheimer explains, Tastykakes are an obsession in the mid-Atlantic states. “Unless you’ve grown up here, you can’t understand what an institution they are.” Kandy Kakes, Krimpets and Kreamies are just a few of the treats that brought in $275 million in 2005.

Adored as Tastykakes are, however, the business has struggled financially. Early in the decade, profits slipped, due to the spin-off of subsidiaries and an overly ambitious national distribution plan. Current president and CEO Charles Pizzi came aboard in 2002 with a transformation strategy that included expanding distribution in select markets and stepping up the introduction of new products.