Sharing Our Islands’ Spirit Allows Us to Return the Favor
The origins of Hawaiian Host can be traced back to almost a century. Mamoru Takitani along with his wife, Aiko, had hopes of producing a world-famous confection. Through hard work and dedication, they were able to create their one-of-a-kind recipe.
Today, we still use that very same formula and continue to come up with a variety of macadamia delights to share with the world through our brands, Hawaiian Host and Mauna Loa.
The Takitani Foundation
The Takitani Foundation
The Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation, Inc., is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing scholarships and educational opportunities for underserved populations of Hawai‘i students.
More than just providers of educational grants, The Takitani Foundation also strives to spur innovative improvements in education in Hawai‘i. The Foundation was created in 1993 to express the Takitanis’ appreciation to the local community for its continual support of their products.
Our Corporate Brand
Hawaiian Host Group is the leading manufacturer of premium chocolate and macadamia nut snacks, headquartered in Honolulu, Hawai‘i.
- We aim to be local
- We are sustainable when possible
- We always lead with the Spirit of Hawai‘i
While we do make products intended to share the Spirit of Hawai‘i—whether for family and friends or to stoke the spirit of warmth and well-being within—at Hawaiian Host Group, we aim to create exceptional experiences alongside our unique line of products.
We seek to set the highest standards without settling and continue to innovate so we can stay relevant and exciting for our consumers.
PRESIDENT & CEO
"At Hawaiian Host Group, we honor our nearly 100 years of heritage in Hawai‘i by innovating and creating new products to keep our customers and our team excited about the future."
Ed Schultz has been President of Hawaiian Host Group since 2018. In 2020, he became President and CEO. Prior to joining HHG, he was President and Owner of Honolulu Coffee. Mr. Schultz’s career started in New York working on growth equity investments and leveraged buyouts for BNP Paribas Merchant Banking Group and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He is currently on the board of the Hawaii Chapter of Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and Chamber of Commerce Hawai‘i. Mr. Schultz is a graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee with a Bachelor of Engineering degree.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & CFO
"When a team paddles together, the final destination is reached more swiftly. I feel that’s who we are at HHG—one team, one goal."
Scott Choi joined Hawaiian Host Group in 2016 and serves as Senior Vice President and CFO. His extensive experience in senior leadership and leading finance teams spans more than 25 years in both Hawai‘i and California. Prior to HHG, Mr. Choi was CFO for Honsador Holdings, LLC. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Hawaii. Mr. Choi is a graduate of New York University with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance and also holds an MBA from Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University.
VICE PRESIDENT OF TALENT MANAGEMENT
"Through the energy, sacrifice and alignment of our team, HHG is creating Hawai‘i’s leaders of tomorrow."
Michelle Leon-Guerrero joined Hawaiian Host Group in 2019 and serves as Vice President of Talent Management. Prior to joining HHG, Mrs. Leon-Guerrero was Director of Benefits for ProService Hawaii, the largest Professional Employer Organization (PEO) in the state. Under her leadership, the benefits and insurance programs grew to serve more than 35,000 employees. Mrs. Leon-Guerrero is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa with a Bachelor of Science in Travel Industry Management and also holds an MBA in Human Resources.
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES
Amir Zahedi has been Senior VP of Sales at Hawaiian Host Group since April 2021. Prior to joining HHG, Mr. Zahedi served as SVP of Sales at Truco Enterprises. He has held various roles throughout his career including Category Management, Trade Marketing, and progressive sales roles at Mars Inc., Unilever, and Pinnacle Foods. Mr. Zahedi earned his MBA from Pepperdine University and has a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from UC Riverside.
Director of Co-Manufacturing
Art Bieler serves as Director of Co-Manufacturing for Hawaiian Host Group, overseeing all aspects of co-manufacturing operations. His experience in food manufacturing and leadership in operations continued in companies such as Dryer’s Grand Ice Cream, Baskin Robbins and Dean Foods.
Director of Manufacturing
Chris Rabago serves as Director of Manufacturing for Hawaiian Host Group. Prior to joining HHG, Chris founded a Hawai‘i coffee company based in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island. Prior to Hawai‘i, Chris spent 17 years overseeing operations at a specialty food contract manufacturer in California. Chris is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor degree in Food Science.
Director of Global Marketing, Mauna Loa
Danielle Laubenstein serves as Director of Global Marketing, Mauna Loa. Prior to Hawaiian Host Group, Danielle was at Godiva on the Global Travel Retail team as well as Chocolove, where she served as Director of Marketing, gaining experience in the naturals channel. She holds a degree in Business from the University of Washington with a concentration in Marketing.
Senior Director of International Sales
Earl Kurisu serves as Sr. Director of International Sales for Hawaiian Host Group. Prior to joining HHG, Earl held positions as International Sales Manager at Hawaiian Sun products and General Manager at Ed & Don’s of Hawaii. Earl has served as a board member for the Hawaii Food Manufacturer’s Association (HFMA) for the past 8 years, holding seats as both Vice President and President of the board.
Gail Akabane joined Hawaiian Host Group in December 2019 and currently serves as Corporate Controller. Prior to HHG, Gail held the position of Controller at Oahu Publications, Inc. Gail is a CPA and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, with a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy and Finance from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.
Director of Sales, Hawai‘i
Jeff Lam serves as the Director of Sales for the Hawai‘i region for Hawaiian Host Group. Prior to joining HHG, Jeff held positions with Anheuser-Busch and Young’s Market as a District Manager gaining 15 years of CPG experience. He holds a degree in Business from the University of Hawai‘i with a concentration in Finance and Marketing.
Director of Talent Management Services
Joy Takanishi joined Hawaiian Host Group in 2016 and serves as Director of Talent Management Services. Her extensive experience in leading both HR and accounting teams spans more than 30 years in Hawai‘i and California. Prior to joining HHG, Joy was the Hawaii Market Unit HR Manager for Coca-Cola Enterprises and Vice President and Controller for ITO-EN (USA) INC. Joy is a graduate of the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting.
Director of Technology
Leroy Kane currently serves as the Director of Technology at Hawaiian Host Group. He has more than 20 years of experience in IT and has developed various data management, reporting and collaboration systems for companies such as Intel Corp, American Airlines, Booz Allen and Queen’s Health Systems. Leroy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Information Systems from Portland State University.
Director of Corporate Communications
Margie Jacinto joined Hawaiian Host Group in November 2019 and currently serves as Director of Corporate Communications. Prior to joining HHG, Margie was Senior Editorial Director of the magazine division at Oahu Publications, Inc — a position she held for eight years. Margie is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University in The Philippines, with a B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies (dual concentration in Communications and English Literature) and a minor in French.
Director of Sales, North America
Natalie Herr joined Hawaiian Host Group in January 2020 and currently serves as Director of Sales – North America. Prior to joining HHG, Natalie worked for five years at Russell Stover Chocolates and in 2019 was honored as one of five Future Leaders in the Industry by the National Confectioners Association (NCA). Natalie is a graduate of the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of Science, Marketing degree and a concentration in International Business.
Director of Supply Chain
Rhiannan Shippen serves as Director of Supply Chain, overseeing procurement, warehousing, and logistics. Prior to joining HHG, Rhiannan held several roles at Y. Hata & Co. in Honolulu including Director of Purchasing and Director of Operations. She holds a Bachelor of Science from University of Hawai‘i in Travel Industry Management.
Director of Global Marketing, Hawaiian Host
Theresa Tuxhorn joins Hawaiian Host Group from working in San Francisco for Williams Sonoma Inc. Prior to Williams Sonoma, Theresa built up a decade of global travel retail experience working at DFS, where she lead the global and regional category strategies, marketing campaigns, and growth initiatives across North America, Mid-Pacific, South East Asia, Middle East and Europe. Theresa graduated from California State University, Chico with a Bachelor’s in Finance and a minor in International Business.
Plant Manager, Mauna Loa
Tony Pastrama joined Hawaiian Host Group in Fall 2019 and serves as the Plant Manager at the Hilo facility. Prior to joining HHG he managed a biodiesel refinery plant just up the road from the Mauna Loa facility and has commissioned and managed biodiesel and renewable energy plants spanning from California to Connecticut. Tony is a graduate of University of Idaho with a BS in Environmental Science and also holds a Masters of Science in Bioenergy Studies.
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