Chobani taps former Nestlé exec as president
North American Meat Institute (NAMI),Washington, D.C.
Joe Maas, co-owner and vice president of operations for JTM Food Group, was elected secretary. Maas previously served as an officer in the North American Meat Association, one of the groups that merged to form NAMI in January 2015.
American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), McLean, Va.
Newly elected 2017 officers include Stan Firestone, chief executive officer of Firestone Pacific Foods, Inc., as chairman, and Bob Ashmun, vice president of sales for National Frozen Foods Corp., as vice chairman. Larry Cope, executive chairman of Clear Springs Foods, was elected immediate past chairman, followed by new additions to the executive board, which include Jeff Varcoe, The Schwan Food Co.; Dave Yanda, Lakeside Foods Inc.; Ed Flanagan, Jasper Wyman & Son Inc.; and Meghan Swan, Simplot Co. Finally, the board of directors include Firestone; Ashmun; Mike Barkley, Pinnacle Foods; Paul DiGenova, Bonduelle Americas; Thomas Madden, Rite Stuff Foods, Inc.; David Moore, Superior Foods; Joseph Pacinelli, Better Baked Foods; Shawn Campbell, NORPAC Foods, Inc.; Julia Sabin, JM Smucker Co.; Gary Crowder, Smith Frozen Foods; Bernard Kreilmann, Ajinomoto Windsor Foods; Bill Smittcamp, Wawona Frozen Foods; and Bob Barnhouse, Dole Packaged Foods, LLC.
Plant Based Foods Association, San Francisco
Shannon Campagna, a senior policy advisor on Alston & Bird’s legislative and public policy team and a 25-year veteran of government affairs, will represent the company’s interests on Capital Hill. Campagna will help the trade group educate members of Congress on the importance of using terms such as soymilk and almond milk. For the past six years, Campagna has served as the director of federal government affairs for Mars, Inc., and has also represented Safeway, the Retail Industry Leaders Association and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB) and United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA), Rosemont, Ill.
Newly appointed DMI officers include Marilyn Hershey as vice chair; David “Skip” Hardie as secretary; and Larry Hancock as treasurer. The NDB elected the following officers: Amber Horn-Leiterman as chair; Brad Scott as vice chair; Joe Kelsay as secretary; and Carol Ahlem as treasurer. Newly elected UDIA officers are as follows: Neil Hoff as chair; Tom Dorsey as 1st vice chair; Tom Woods as 2nd vice chair, American Dairy Association; Jerry Messer as 2nd vice chair, National Dairy Council; Rick Podtburg as 2nd vice chair, UDIA member relations; Jim Reid as secretary; and Allen Merrill as treasurer.
International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C.
Robert Dean Yonkers, vice president and chief economist, announced his retirement, effective March 15, after nearly 20 years with the association and many more following the dairy industry. Yonkers oversaw the research and analysis of the economic impact of marketing conditions, government regulations and alternative policies on the U.S. and international dairy industries. In addition to his renowned expertise on the complex Federal Milk Marketing Order system, Yonkers taught IDFA’s Milk Procurement Workshop, helping newcomers to dairy or milk procurement understand how the industry’s complicated regulations affect their businesses. Before joining IDFA in 1998, Yonkers was a tenured faculty member at The Pennsylvania State University, where he conducted research and developed educational programs on the profitability and economic sustainability of the state's milk producing, marketing and processing sectors. Yonkers also served on the Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service, and was an active member of the International Dairy Federation's Standing Committee on Dairy Policies and Economics.
First Foods Group, Inc., New York
Harold Kestenbaum was appointed chairman and interim CEO, upon the company name change from Litera Group, LLC. Kestenbaum brings a wealth of experience and c-level relationships in the franchise industry. As a lawyer who specialized in franchise law and other matters relating to franchising since 1977, Kestenbaum previously served as general counsel and director to Sbarro, Inc. and served as president and chairman of the board of FranchiseIt Corp. He also advanced the franchise successes of leading brands such Nathan's Famous, Five Guys Burgers, Bagel Boss and more. Meanwhile, Mark Keeley was appointed as chief financial officer. Keeley is a certified public accountant, who began his career in public accounting with KPMG LLP in August 1985. He continued his public accounting career at Coopers and Lybrand LLP in September 1990, and was admitted to the partnership when Coopers & Lybrand LLP merged with Price Waterhouse LLP to become PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in October 1988. He retired from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in July 2014. From April 2015 to November 2016, he served as the chief financial officer of Bradley, Foster & Sargent, Inc. He has applied his accounting, financial management and information technology experience to a broad range of national and international companies, including the development of artificial intelligence solutions for the restaurant and restaurant franchise industry.
Hain Celestial Group, Lake Success, N.Y.
John Carroll, former chief executive officer, Hain Celestial North America, was named executive vice president, global brands, categories and new business ventures, responsible for global branding, new business ventures, mergers and acquisitions and the execution of Project Terra, the company's strategic review of cost savings, business integration and divestitures. Gary Tickle was named chief executive officer, Hain Celestial North America. Tickle was previously chief operating officer, Hain Celestial United States, having joined the company in September 2016 after over 20 years as president and CEO of Nestlé Infant Nutrition North America. Tickle will lead sales, marketing, operations and research and development as well as have full financial responsibility for Hain Celestial's United States and Canada operations.
Stemilt Growers, Wenatchee, Wash.
Katie Harmon joined as marketing communications coordinator, responsible for contributing content to Stemilt’s various communication channels, including The Stem blog, and managing sits ocial media channels and tradeshows. After graduating college, Harmon gained experience in copy writing, social media marketing, public outreach and website and project management while interning for the Wenatchee World, and most recently worked for SCJ Alliance.
Chobani, LLC, Norwich, N.Y.
Tim Brown was appointed president and COO, tasked with overseeing Chobani's operations, sales, marketing, legal and finance teams. Brown maintains more than 30 years of experience in the food business, including most recently for Nestlé Waters North America, where he oversaw a portfolio of brands such as Perrier, San Pellegrino and Poland Spring, and was responsible for $4.3 billion in annual net sales, supported by 8,500 employees, 29 plants and operations in more than 140 communities.
SpartanNash, Grand Rapids, Mich.
Chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors Dennis Eidson announced plans to retire as CEO, effective May 23. David Staples, president and COO, will succeed Eidson as CEO. Staples' executive experience prior to becoming president and COO includes 16 years as the company's chief financial officer. He is a certified public accountant, and sits on the boards of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce and the Grand Rapids Symphony. Meanwhile, Pat Weslow was promoted to senior vice president, distribution sales, where he will oversee sales across the company's distribution network. Weslow has been serving as SpartanNash's vice president, national accounts. Prior to joining SpartanNash, Weslow was vice president, retail operations for Acosta, and director of national retail sales and director of supermarket sales for Coca-Cola.
Teton Waters Ranch, Denver, Colo.
Walt Freese will join as chief executive officer, effective March 27, 2017. Jeff Russell will continue his role as founder and will lead the continued development of the company’s supply chain partners and network. Freese has been president and CEO of the Sterling Rice Group since 2015. He also maintains a strong track record of building entrepreneurial start-ups and multinational corporations, including Ben & Jerry's, Stonyfield Farm and Celestial Seasonings. He brings more than 30 years of CPG and industry experience.
The Oppenheimer Group, Canada
Organics veteran Chris Ford joined as organics category manager. Ford comes with more than two decades of fresh produce and organics expertise gained in buying and management roles with Whole Foods Markets, Wild Oats and Alfalfa’s Market. Ford’s experience also includes leadership positions on the supply side, with six years as a commodity manager for Earthbound Farm, and most recently as vice president at Sutherland Produce Sales.
Prime Time International, Coachella, Calif.
Brian Miller was named director of business development, responsible for building additional business with the existing customer base and expanding production to new retail, foodservice and wholesale customers. Additionally, Miller will find new avenues to expand the existing product line while also developing new marketing opportunities with other commodities. Miller spent 15 years with Gourmet Produce, rising to president, a position he held for many years. For the past two years, he was vice president of sales and marketing at Mission Produce. Brian’s long time management career in the produce industry enabled him to gain a broad perspective in sourcing, sales, marketing and management.
Sabra Dipping Co., White Plains, N.Y.
Paula Fitzgerald was named chief financial officer, replacing Chris Hall, who announced his retirement earlier this month. Fitzgerald is a global financial leader with Fortune 50 experience spanning five continents. Fitzgerald maintains with nearly 10 years of experience at PepsiCo, which jointly owns Sabra with The Strauss Group, where she held key financial leadership roles, including most recently senior director, Walmart sales finance for PepsiCo North America Beverages. Earlier, as senior director, brand and innovation finance, she provided brand finance and innovation support for the company's U.S. beverage portfolio of brands across both retail and foodservice channels. Prior to working at PepsiCo, she served as finance director for Pfizer's consumer healthcare strategy and business development team.
Perdue Farms, Salisbury, Md.
Randy Day was promoted to chief executive officer, effective immediately. Day has served as chief operating officer since May 2016. Previous to that, Day served as president of Perdue Foods since February 2015. He joined Perdue Farms in 1980, and has held various positions of increasing responsibility in Perdue Foods and Perdue AgriBusiness.
West Liberty Foods, LLC, West Liberty, Iowa
Gerald Lessard was appointed president of the new subsidiary, Liberty Free Range Poultry, L.L.C., which was formed from the assets acquired from Crystal Lake Farms and Free Ranger. Lessard will oversee the free-range breeding, growing and processing operation. Previously, Lessard was the chief operating officer of West Liberty Foods from 2004-2016, with his most recent role as chief operations officer of Salm Partners, LLC. He brings over 28 years of knowledge and expertise in the poultry industry.
Crystal Valley Foods, Miami, Fla.
Katiana Valdes was named new marketing director, responsible for developing and implementing the company’s marketing, branding, social media and public relations programs. She will also support sales efforts by developing promotional programs tied into both the foodservice and retail categories. Valdes has spent most of her career in marketing and new business development positions at Del Monte Fresh.
Mission Produce, Oxnard, Calif.
Brent Scattini was appointed to vice president of sales and marketing, responsible for overseeing Mission’s global sales and marketing efforts. Scattini was initially hired in late 2016 as the company’s vice president of sales for North America. Prior to joining Mission, Scattini most recently served as vice president of sales and marketing for Gold Coast Packing, where he has worked for the past 6 years. Prior to that, he was director of sales for Grimmway Farms for 15 years, and is a 27-year veteran of the produce industry. Scattini also serves on the board of directors for the United Fresh Produce Association, and is currently the co-chair of the PMA Foodservice Committee.
Niman Ranch, Denver, Colo.
Kerri McClimen was named to the newly created role of director of communications, responsible for promoting Niman Ranch meats while highlighting the successes of key partners, farmers, customers and chefs. Previously, McClimen was a consultant to The Pew Charitable Trusts, where she focused on increasing America’s consumption of meat and poultry raised without antibiotics as part of the Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming and the Antibiotic Resistance Project. McClimen maintains 25 years of media management and public policy experience, including strategic planning and execution of short- and long-term organizational goals in public health, environment and sustainable agriculture. She has also worked for Fortune 100 companies and members of the United States Congress.
CEO Owen Killian; Patrick McEniff, CFO and COO; and John Yamin, CEO Americas, will each depart ARYZTA March 31. As a result, David Wilkinson was appointed interim CFO, effective immediately. Wilkinson is a senior partner at KPMG, and is currently head of the advisory practice in Ireland.
Church’s Chicken, Atlanta
Amar Sandhu will take on the title of vice president, Texas Chicken business, the sister brand to Church’s Chicken. In this newly created role, Sandhu will be responsible for managing the Texas Chicken brand across all Middle East/Black Sea Basin and Asia Pacific markets. Sandhu brings diverse expertise in operations, development, marketing, strategy and a results-based approach for working with emerging and developing markets. Sandhu has been a vital member of the Texas Chicken team for more than five years, and played a pivotal role in the launch of the brand in Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand, Thailand, Pakistan, and most recently, Laos.
RAVE Restaurant Group, Dallas, Texas
The parent company of Pizza Inn and Pie Five Pizza Co. hired Judy Messenger as the new vice president of real estate, effective Feb. 13, responsible for making strategic real estate decisions that foster growth and transformation of the brand, in addition to expanding market presence. She oversees both franchise support and corporate development for both brands. Messenger brings 25 years of real estate experience to the role, previously serving as the director of real estate at Noodles & Co. and Smashburger.
DineEquity, Inc., Glendale, Calif.
The parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP restaurants appointed John Cywinski as president of Applebee's, effective immediately. Cywinski most recently served as executive vice president of strategic innovation and marketing at Brinker International, parent company of Chili's Grill & Bar and Maggiano's Little Italy. Prior to Brinker, he was at Yum! Brands from 2010-2014, where he was the president of KFC's U.S. business. Before joining Yum!, Cywinski spent four years as a franchisee himself, owning and operating Dunkin' Donuts and Sonic restaurants in Chicago. From 2001-2006, he served as the chief marketing officer of Applebee's, where he led all aspects of brand strategy and positioning, including marketing, culinary and menu strategies, while spearheading innovative initiatives like Applebee's Carside To Go, a 5-year alliance with Weight Watchers and the "Eatin' Good In The Neighborhood" ad campaign. Previously, Cywinski served as vice president of U.S. brand strategy for McDonald's Corp., president of Buena Vista Pictures Marketing for The Walt Disney Co. and led U.S. marketing for Burger King. He started his career with Leo Burnett Advertising.
Danfoss, Baltimore, Md.
Scott Cohen was appointed regional business development manager for the non-residential heating business in North America. In this role, Cohen will focus specifically on the growth of the Danfoss AB-QM pressure independent control valve in hydronic applications throughout the Northeast United States. Cohen maintains more than 30 years of operations and business development experience in multiple aspects of the HVAC industry, including installation, retrofit, building commission (Cx), construction site support and troubleshooting, MEP equipment evaluation and pre-purchase and energy efficiency initiatives.
Bison Gear & Engineering, St. Charles, Ill.
John Burch was named chief executive officer, effective May 1, succeeding Marcus Bours, who has served as the interim CEO since June 2016. Burch maintains over 25 years of general management, marketing, sales, business development and operations experience across a variety of industrial business-to-business markets. He joined Bison in 2008 as regional sales manager, progressing to his current role as executive vice president, go to market in November 2015.
NFI, Cherry Hill, N.J.
Gerard Darby was named new chief information officer and senior vice president, responsible for overseeing IT functions, including the development, implementation, support and maintenance of technology used by both employees and customers. Darby comes with 26 years of experience, previously serving as divisional CIO for a specialty retailer.
10-4 Systems, Boulder, Colo.
Jack Holmes was named new chairman of the board, after serving on the company’s board since July. He also served as president of UPS Freight from 2007-2016, and was co-chair of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Freight Advisory Committee’s Conditions, Performance and Data Subcommittee under U.S. Secretaries of Transportation Ray LaHood and Anthony Foxx. Holmes, whose UPS career began in 1979 when he was a package handler, is currently an advisory board member at LinkLabs, and has also served on the board of the American Transportation Research Institute for the past five years.
JAXPORT, Jacksonville, Fla.
CEO Brian Taylor and the authority agreed to part ways, so Taylor could pursue other business opportunities. Taylor joined the authority in 2013 after a long and distinguished career in the maritime industry, serving in executive roles at both SeaLand and Horizon Lines. Significant achievements during Taylor's time at JAXPORT include the completion of the Mile Point project; on-dock rail facility serving the Blount Island and Dames Point Terminals; berth, dock and rail upgrades; three new 100-gauge electric container cranes; and the signing of the Project Partnership Agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin the deepening of the Jacksonville channel to 47 feet. Eric Green, the organization's senior director of government affairs, was appointed acting CEO.
Detectamet Inc., Canada
James Farmer was named new international sales director, responsible for expanding the company’s market penetration across North, Central and South America. Farmer maintains significant experience in helping food processors protect their food products from contamination by using x-ray and metal detection. He also completed HACCP safety auditor training.