One of the oldest cheesemakers in the world is making a big bet on the United States. Paris-based Fromageries Bel, founded in 1865 by Jules Bel, built a facility in Brookings, S.D., specifically to manufacture Mini Babybel cheeses for the American market (see related article). At $140 million, it was the biggest investment the French cheesemaker has ever made, said Frederic Nalis, the president of Chicago-based Bel Brands USA and the CEO of Bel Americas.
Nalis joined Bel Group in 2003 from Procter & Gamble. He first served as marketing general manager for Bel International. From 2005 to 2008 he was the general manager for the Asia-Pacific division and from 2008 to 2011 he directed the Greater Africa division. Then in 2011, Nalis was named executive vice president of the Bel Group and CEO of Greater Africa. In 2013, he relocated to Chicago and Bel Brands USA.