ConAgra CFO to retire, and other personnel announcements
Organto Foods Inc., Canada
Andrew Yau was appointed as new chief financial officer. Yau has an extensive accounting background, having previously served as controller of several TSX and TSX-V listed companies including Organto, where he was responsible for all aspects of accounting, tax compliance, managing banking relationships, financial reporting and developing internal control frameworks. Yau assumes the position from Akbar Hassanally, who left to pursue other opportunities.
ConAgra Foods, Inc., Omaha, Neb.
Executive vice president and CFO John Gehring announced plans to retire after 14 years of service with the company. Gehring joined ConAgra in 2002, and assumed his current role in early 2009. Before joining ConAgra Foods, he was a partner with Ernst & Young, and held auditing positions with PepsiCo and KPMG.
Clear Springs Foods, Inc., Buhl, Idaho
Jessica Henry joined as director of marketing, effective April 4. She brings six years of marketing experience to the company, having previously worked as the marketing manager for Idaho Milk Products. There, she was part of a team that built a strong brand within an industrial customer base. Meanwhile, Don Riffle, executive vice president of sales, marketing and global supply chain development, announced plans to retire, effective Nov. 30. As a result, Kurt Myers will take over as vice president of sales and marketing, effective June 1, when he will assume full responsibility for future sales and marketing initiatives and the sales and marketing staff. Myers joined Clear Springs Foods approximately one year ago, bringing 20 years of experience working in the food industry in sales, marketing and operational roles.
Sargento Foods Inc., Plymouth, Wis.
William (Bill) Bartnik was promoted to vice president of manufacturing in the operations division, responsible for directing and coordinating manufacturing activities, helping formulate and administer policies and objectives and ensuring efficient performance, high food safety standards, personnel safety, employee satisfaction and on-time customer delivery. Bartnik has spent 16 years with Sargento, starting as a manufacturing engineer and later becoming a production manager for the shredded cheese product line. He was also plant manager of the Plymouth plant for 11 years before leading the manufacturing systems unit.
Schwan’s Food Service, Inc., Bloomington, Minn.
Lance Luegers joined in the newly created position of senior director of sales for corporate accounts, leading the non-commercial business. In this role, Luegers will lead a team focused on selling foods to foodservice management companies, group purchasing organizations and corporate distributors. He brings more than 25 years of sales leadership experience in the foodservice industry, most recently serving as vice president of sales for Sky Rocket Global Consulting Group, focusing on client strategy and new business development. He spent more than 15 years with PepsiCo, as southeast region senior director of sales. He began his career in sales at Quaker Oats.
Project Juice, San Francisco
Veteran chef and plant-based food expert Sascha Weiss was tapped as new head of innovation, tasked with helping the company create meaningful and groundbreaking new products and helping open additional retail locations. Weiss maintains more than 20 years’ experience in the Bay Area’s culinary world. Previously, Weiss spent more than a decade as culinary director and founding executive chef at The Plant Café Organic, where he revolutionized the menu to produce healthy, delicious food. Before that, Weiss served as a holistic nutrition and culinary arts instructor at Bauman College, and as a personal chef at Lucasfilm. He was also chef and co-owner at Urban Kitchen, and spent time as a pastry chef at Millennium Restaurant.
Smashburger, Denver, Colo.
Gregg Koffler was appointed senior vice president of franchise sales and administration, effective immediately, responsible for continuing the franchise growth of the brand both domestically and abroad. Koffler comes from Corner Bakery Café, where he was in charge of the franchise sales department, added over 400 units to the development pipeline, expanded the brand internationally and grew its presence in the non-traditional sector. Prior to his run at Corner Bakery, Koffler held a franchise sales leadership role at Wyndham Worldwide Corp., where he was responsible for overseeing hotel franchise sales for the mountain and coastal west coast.
The Wendy's Co., Dublin, Ohio
Todd Penegor was appointed chief executive officer, in addition to his current role as president, taking over for Emil Brolick, who retired. Brolick announced plans to retire in October 2015, Penegor has served as chief financial officer since 2013, and has transitioned those responsibilities to Gunther Plosch, who joined the company earlier this month. The company also announced that Bob Wright, executive vice president and COO, will assume leadership responsibilities for the international division, effective May 30. Wright has been working closely with the international team and franchisees over the past several months, and brings a wealth of operational and general management experience for future growth and expansion in key markets.
McDonald's Corp., Oak Brook, Ill.
Enrique ("Rick") Hernandez, Jr. was elected non-executive chairman of the company's board of directors, succeeding Andrew McKenna, who retired after 25 years of service as a director and served the last 12 years as chairman of the board. Hernandez has served on the board as an independent director since 1996, and most recently chaired the audit committee. He is currently president and CEO of Inter-Con Security Systems, Inc. Hernandez began his career as a litigation attorney with Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, and in 1984, joined Inter-Con Security Systems in 1986. He also serves as a director for Chevron Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and Nordstrom, Inc., where he concluded 10 years of service as chairman.
Source Refrigeration & HVAC, Anaheim, Calif.
Andrew Mandell was named chief operating officer, effective April 13. Previously, Mandell was president of ValleyCrest Group, where he also served as chief executive officer of landscape development, executive vice president and chief financial officer. Prior to his work at ValleyCrest, he held leadership positions with Fox Cable Networks, Universal Studios, ITT Sheraton, the Walt Disney Co. and Pepsico.
Granbury Solutions, Grapevine, Texas
Cheri Kruse was named new chief financial officer this week, continuing a plan to strengthen the company’s senior leadership. Kruse has served as vice president of finance for Granbury since May 2015, providing financial oversight and strategies to assure the company's continued financial strength, while ensuring accuracy and efficiency of financial operations. Meanwhile, Mark Rosenberg, chief operating officer, stepped down to pursue other business interests.
Burns & McDonnell, Kansas City, Mo.
Chris Freeman was promoted to lead the food and consumer products team for the Chicago region, charged with focusing on services ranging from pre-capital consulting and master planning for processing facilities to full process engineering, plant design and construction services. Freeman joined Burns & McDonnell in 2012, where he led several projects to upgrade plants for major food and consumer products corporations. Prior to joining Burns & McDonnell, Freeman served 12 years as a product manager, refinery plant manager and project engineer with Cargill, where he worked with several of Cargill's major product lines to implement production improvements, business planning focused on increased profitability and to oversee major plant renovations. He has worked on numerous projects in both the United States and internationally.
Danfoss, Bethpage, N.Y.
Gregory Handzel was hired to manage the company’s new U.S. Application Development Center. Handzel will be responsible for managing the center’s testing and training operations and delivering a first-class experience for customers partnering with Danfoss to comply with new and forthcoming energy-efficient and low-GWP refrigerant regulations and standards. Handzel maintains more than 25 years’ experience in engineering, research and development and product design, development and testing.
Food Safety Net Services (FSNS), San Antonio, Texas
Wendy Harmon was appointed to the newly created role of director of customer relations, effective immediately, responsible for serving as a customer service advocate and leading the ongoing integration of customer relationship management within all areas of the company. Harmon served as customer service manager of FSNS from 2008-2011, and maintains more than 20 years’ experience in customer service, operations, e-commerce distribution strategies and project management. She was most recently the director of customer operations for Blue Matrix Labs, LLC.
Polymer Logistics, Riverside, Calif.
Industry veteran Fred Heptinstall was named chief executive officer North America Business, effective July 1. Heptinstall brings a wealth of domestic and international executive experience in the packaging and fresh food industries. Previously, he was president of IFCO Systems, where he led the expansion of the reusable plastic container (RPC) industry in North America to a recognized and preferred packaging solution for fresh produce. He has also held executive positions at Chiquita Brands International and Mars Inc., and currently serves on the board of directors of the United Fresh Produce Association. He also previously served as chairman of the Reusable Packaging Association, where he transitioned the organization from a limited coalition to a full-time association. This announcement comes on the heels of the retail-ready packaging provider opening a new logistics and distribution center.
RapidScale, Irvine, Calif.
Christine Webering was appointed strategic development manager, responsible for building and growing relationships within Avant Communications and its partners, and supporting and developing Avant’s large VAR partners. Her role will continue to expand as other larger master agents are brought on board and need additional attention and support. Webering is a seasoned IT professional with experience in cultivating relationships, maximizing sales and growing her account base. Previously, she was a senior account manager at CDW, where she was responsible for IT sales to the higher education division in Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.
Fox Solutions, McAllen, Texas
Jeff Nielsen joined as a sales executive for the East Coast region. Nielsen brings a wealth of experience from the manufacturing and high-tech industries, and boasts valuable knowledge in packing houses, the processed food industry as well as end-of-line packaging systems and materials. Previously, Nielsen has been the Southeast regional manager for TOMRA Sorting Solutions for the past nine years.
Stellar, Jacksonville, Fla.
Zach Norris was hired as corporate business developer, tasked with new business development and aftermarket support. He comes from a design-build company serving the food and beverage industry.