Cold foods industry experiences slew of personnel changes
Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB), Madison, Wis.
Abby Despins was promoted to director of national product communications, where she will spearhead national public relations and social media campaigns. Despins has been with WMMB since 2014, serving as public relations manager. Despins brought nearly a decade of experience in public relations, social media and strategic marketing communications in a variety of agency, corporate and non-profit roles. Since joining WMMB, she has worked with cheese companies, food bloggers and industry media to share WMMB’s message on a regional and national level through targeted social media and public relations efforts.
The Food Institute, Upper Saddle River, N.J.
Scott Helder, director of global sourcing, food quality assurance and food regulatory for Meijer Inc., joined the Board of Trustees. Helder is responsible for all Meijer Own Brand Supermarket products, ensuring each item meets stringent standards for quality and regulatory. Helder's career at Meijer started in 2010 as a foundational member of the Own Brand Sourcing team. He was promoted to fresh and frozen seafood merchant, where he was responsible for the entire seafood category. Following seafood, Helder was promoted to director of global sourcing, responsible for all domestic and global Meijer Brand Suppliers. Since then, Helder has assumed additional responsibilities leading the supermarket quality assurance and regulatory teams. Prior to Meijer, Helder worked at Gordon Food Service developing supplier relationships with the fruit, vegetable and dairy team.
International Institute of Refrigeration, France
Judith Evans was named new president of Commission C2, focusing on food science and engineering. Evans is a professor at London South Bank University and a director of refrigeration developments and testing, working on food refrigeration operations throughout the cold chain.She previously worked at the University of Bristol, AFRC Institute of Food Research and the Meat Research Institute on a number of key topics, including frozen storage of meat, consumer handling of food and studies to improve the performance of domestic and commercial refrigerators, energy labelling, instrumentation performance, decontamination of food, cook-chill systems, novel refrigeration systems, optimizing refrigeration systems and improving performance and temperature control in chilled and frozen storage rooms.
PMA Australia-New Zealand, a stand-alone affiliate of the global Produce Market Association, Newark, Del.
Darren Keating was named chief executive officer, following the recent announcement of the pending retirement of soon-to-be-former CEO Michael Worthington, effective mid-August. Meanwhile, John Said announced plans to step down as chairman in November, handing over the reigns to Andrew Francey, general manager, commercial for OneHarvest. Joe Craggs, sales and marketing director of Tropical Pines, will be coming in as vice chairman.
NSF International, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Amy Robles will become the general manager of the new Ecuador office, which was founded based on a long-standing partnership with Agroquality. Robles has been the general manager of Agroquality for the past 10 years, managing the Trust Control International certification department.
Mission Produce, Oxnard, Calif.
Gwendolyn Jackimek was named wholesale sales manager, responsible for creating and driving strategy to service wholesale customers. Jackimek comes to Mission after spending 12 years as district sales manager for Dole Fresh Fruit, where she was responsible for key accounts in tropical sales and managed fruit allocation for all sales in pineapples and bananas in the Western half of the United States.
Flowers Foods, Thomasville, Ga.
JT Rieck was promoted to vice president of investor relations and financial analysis, responsible for investor messaging, strategic research and financial modeling. Rieck joined Flowers as managing director of investor relations and financial analysis in 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a tax attorney in private practice, and was director of research and a senior analyst at Crosscap Management. Rieck took over for Marta Jones Turner, who previously served as investor relations officer, and will continue as executive vice president of corporate relations.
Kroger Co., Cincinnati
Roundy's CEO Bob Mariano announced plans to retire, effective Sept. 1, after which he will serve as strategic adviser to Kroger and Roundy's for two years. Mariano began his career in the grocery industry in 1967, when he worked as a part-time deli clerk at Dominick's. He served in various roles of increasing responsibility, including senior vice president, before being named president and CEO of Dominick's in 1995. He led the company through an initial public offering in 1996, before it was purchased by Safeway in 1998. Mariano took on leadership of Roundy's Supermarkets, Inc. in 2002, and opened the first store under the Mariano's banner in 2010.
Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn.
Tony Finnestad was named corporate development chef for the company’s foodservice division. Previously, Finnestad worked as the corporate chef for Cherry Republic, Inc., where he was responsible for new product development for two restaurants and four retail shops. Finnestad also managed a team of 10 individuals and worked closely with the company’s marketing and sales departments to launch new products. Finnestad’s past experience also includes acting as the lead chef at various restaurants and companies in Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming and New Mexico.
Market Fresh Produce, Nixa, Mo.
Berrah Brown was hired as a produce intern, working in the operations and sales and marketing departments to garner a full understanding of one of the company’s re-packing and distribution centers. His training will then move him into sales, marketing, and sourcing training. Brown most recently worked in sales and service for Aspen Chemical and Supply. Brown also spent time with the U.S. Marine Corps, where he earned the Chesty Puller award, among others, for demonstrating the highest potential for leadership and responsibility.
Mann Packing Co., Salinas, Calif.
Gina Nucci was promoted to the newly created role of director of corporate marketing, tasked with developing, implementing and evaluating marketing programs that promote Mann’s image in the marketplace. She will also develop strategic product messaging and support revenue-generating initiatives, as well as establish and maintain consistent company and brand messaging communication. Meanwhile, Loree Dowse was named foodservice marketing manager, in charge of all marketing programs geared toward Mann’s foodservice customers. She joined the marketing team in December 2015, bringing with her a background in marketing and communications as well as culinary arts. She also conducts recipe development, advises on new products and authors the foodservice blog “Mann, That’s Easy!”
Target Corp., Minneapolis
Don Liu was appointed executive vice president, chief legal officer and general counsel, effective Aug. 22, replacing Tim Baer, who will be retiring in July 2017 after 23 years with the company. Liu will oversee all legal, corporate governance and government affairs matters for the company. Liu comes from Xerox Corp., where he has served as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary since 2007. In that role, he was responsible for all of Xerox’s legal and government affairs matters. Prior to Xerox, Liu was senior vice president and chief compliance officer for Toll Brothers, Inc. and senior vice president and general counsel for Ikon Office Solutions.
ConAgra Foods, Chicago
Current director Timothy McLevish will become the executive chairman of the board of directors of Lamb Weston, effective upon the completion of the spin-off. McLevish is the former chief financial officer and executive vice president at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. From 2007-2014, he held various positions within Kraft Foods Group and Kraft Foods Inc., including executive vice president and chief financial officer. Before joining Kraft Foods, he was senior vice president and CFO of Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd., and prior to that, held a series of leadership roles within Mead Corp. He also currently serves on the board of directors for Kennametal, Inc. and US Foods Holding Corp. Additionally, Thomas Werner, currently president of commercial foods at ConAgra Foods, will become chief executive officer of Lamb Weston. He also oversees the Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings and JM Swank operations, which are in the process of being divested. Previously, Werner served as interim president of ConAgra’s private brands from June 2015 through its divestiture in February. He’s also held a series of finance and managerial positions throughout ConAgra Foods. Werner is part of the governing committee representing Lamb Weston in the Lamb Weston Meijer joint venture, and currently serves on the board of directors of Ardent Mills, LLC. Lastly, David Marberger was appointed executive vice president and CFO, effective Aug. 29, succeeding John Gehring, who previously announced his plans to retire from the company. Marberger brings more than 30 years of finance and leadership experience, including significant consumer packaged goods expertise. Currently, he serves as chief financial officer at Prestige Brands. Prior to joining Prestige Brands, Marberger served as chief financial officer of Godiva Chocolatier for seven years, where he was responsible for the finance, accounting, audit, tax and IT functions in addition to overseeing the company’s worldwide strategic planning process. At Godiva, Marberger was instrumental in spearheading efforts to establish the company as a standalone business under new ownership and delivering significant improvements in overall performance. Prior to joining Godiva, Marberger served as chief financial officer at Tasty Baking Co., and spent 10 years at Campbell Soup Co., where he held finance roles with increasing responsibility.
Wingstop Restaurants Inc., Dallas, Texas
William Engen resigned from his position as chief operating officer to pursue a new opportunity, effective immediately.
Toppers Pizza, Whitewater, Wis.
Tony Elliswas named to the newly created position of vice president of information technology, responsible for taking the brand’s overall technology strategy, innovation and execution to the next level. Ellis has spent his entire career working in technology. For more than 12 years, he helped lead the IT operations for BuySeasons, where he helped grow the online retailer’s revenue from single digit to triple digit millions. In 2014, Ellis co-founded Aperture Labs.
Quiznos, Denver, Colo.
Susan Lintonsmith was appointed new chief executive officer. Lintonsmith has more than 25 years of experience working with world-class brands. Lintonsmith joining Quiznos in 2012 as chief marketing officer, leading the revitalization of the company’s marketing efforts with a greater focus on quality ingredients, menu improvements and simplification. She was also instrumental in opening the China market and leading the opening of Quiznos Grill. Meanwhile, Christina Maxwell was named chief financial officer, taking over for Katie Scherping, CFO and interim president and CEO. Scherping is leaving the company to pursue an opportunity outside the restaurant industry. Maxwell joined Quiznos in 2012 as senior vice president of finance and accounting. Maxwell has more than 20 years of experience in financial analysis, strategic planning and process flow improvements.
American Industrial Systems, Inc., (AIS) a subsidiary of Ennoconn Corp., Irvine, Calif.
Joe Fijak, a 34-year technology industry veteran, joined as executive vice president and COO. Fijak will play a crucial role in shaping the company's new go-to-market sales strategy now that it’s a division of Ennoconn, focus efforts on the company's sales growth strategy and execution in both existing industrial human machine interface (HMI) markets and new smart industries such as Industrial Internet of Things, machine to machine and more. Fijak has served as a member of the AIS board of directors since 2013. He also maintains more than 25 years of direct display, touchscreen and embedded solutions industry leadership experience. He was most recently global senior vice president of sales and marketing for Sanmina Corp.’s mechanical systems and display solutions division. Prior to this role, Fijak was vice president of Avnet Electronics’ embedded solutions business unit for display solutions and digital signage business. Fijak was also a key part of the senior management team for Reptron Electronics, helping lead the IPO launch on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Fijak is also a founding partner of Premier Technology Sales Inc., which he sold in mid-2004.
SPX FLOW, Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
Sam Gloverwas named global product manager, charged with leading strategic initiatives that support and grow SPX FLOW product lines. Glover maintains an extensive background managing commercial rollouts and developing product line strategies. Previously, he served as senior brand manager for the food services division of Newell Rubbermaid, where he was responsible for developing strategies for a $60 million product category.
Tekni-Plex, Wayne, Pa.
David Andrulonis was promoted to senior vice president and general manager of the company’s global Tri-Seal closure liners business unit. Andrulonis has been with Tekni-Plex since 2010, and was previously responsible for both U.S. closure liners and films. And, Kirk Rumsey was promoted to vice president of procurement and general manager of the company’s U.S. Tekni Films business. Rumsey joined the company in 2013 as vice president of global procurement.
FORTE, a Swisslog company, Mason, Ohio
David Schwebel was appointed senior director of business development and management, drawing on his extensive experience and expertise in material handling equipment and consumer packaged goods to help prospective clients solve supply chain, warehousing and distribution challenges with advanced material handling automation solutions. Previously, Schwebel worked as managing executive with Material Handling Industry (MHI), and has held a number of leadership, strategy, engineering and business design roles at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated. He was also a principal consultant for EDGE Network, where he executed business process redesign and improvement projects for automated warehouses, packaging suppliers and supply chain information technology integrators.
Choptank Transport, Inc., Preston, Md.
President and CEO Geoff Turner accepted an invitation to become part of Salisbury University’s Executive Advisory Council. Two years ago, Choptank Transport partnered with Salisbury University to offer its first Choptank Transport Annual Sales Program and scholarship as part of the Mid-Atlantic Sales and Marketing Institute (MASMI). Turner is also an alumni of the Business School.