B&G Foods’ CEO to retire, Flanagan Foodservice names new president, and other personnel announcements
U.S.-Mexico Economic Council, Washington, D.C.
Patrick Ottensmeyer, president and CEO of Kansas City Southern (KCS), was tapped as U.S. chairman, responsible for the U.S.-Mexico CEO Dialogue, and overseeing the council’s agenda of engagement with public- and private-sector leaders in the United States and Mexico.
National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Brett Ladd, chief executive officer of government, North America for Sodexo, was appointed to the board of trustees, effective Jan. 1. Under his direction, Sodexo provides 130,000 meals daily at more than 150 locations. Previously, he served as senior vice president of sales for government North America, where he led growth and client retention initiatives. He was also a member of the executive team when Sodexo established its formal government segment in 2002.
International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), Washington, D.C.
The 2019 board of directors entail the following: John Tracy, executive chairman of Dot Foods, Inc., as chairman; Craig Hoskins, president and CEO of Performance Food Group, customized distribution, as vice chairman; and Mark Harman, president of Stanz Foodservice, Inc., as treasurer. Mark Allen was appointed president and CEO of IFDA. 2019 directors include Kristin Coleman, executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer, US Foods; Kellie Janssen, president of Henry’s Foods, Inc.; Jeff King, president and CEO of Reinhart Foodservice, LLC; Russell Libby, executive vice president, administration and corporate secretary of Sysco Corp.; W. Kent McClelland, chief executive officer of Shamrock Foods Co.; Andy Mercier, president and CEO of Merchants Foodservice; Peter Mouskondis, president and CEO of Nicholas & Co., Inc.; Chris Pappas, president and CEO of The Chefs' Warehouse; Tim Power, president of Golbon; Steve Push, chairman and CEO of Legacy Foodservice Alliance; Suzanne Rajczi, chief executive officer of Ginsberg’s Foods, Inc.; John Renzi, president of Renzi Foodservice, Inc.; Sue Ryan, president of Upper Lakes Foods, Inc.; Bob Stewart, chief executive officer of UniPro Foodservice, Inc.; Mike Sweet, president of Ben E. Keith Foods; Dan Van Eerden, president and CEO of Van Eerden Foodservice; H.O. “Chip” Walker III, president and CEO, Frosty Acres Brands; Rich Wolowski, president and CEO of Gordon Food Service; and Tom A. Zatina, president of McLane Foodservice, Inc.
Conagra Brands, Inc., Chicago
Scott Ostfeld joined the board of directors, effective Feb. 16. Ostfeld has been a partner at JANA Partners LLC, a long-term investor in Conagra Brands, since 2006. He’s also served as an investment manager and co-portfolio manager of JANA Partners LLC's active equity ownership strategy, JANA Strategic Investments. Ostfeld is a member of the board of directors of HD Supply Holdings, Inc. and was previously a member of the board of directors of Team Health Holdings, Inc. Ostfeld also serves on the non-profit boards for Columbia University's Richman Center for Business, Law and Public Policy and The Opportunity Network.
Veg-Fresh Farms, Corona, Calif.
Jeff Kelly was named vice president of sales. Kelly has spent the last 15 years in produce sales management in Southern California. Cherie Galper joined the sales team, focusing on driving the organic and conventional tomato category forward, while also assisting with Veg-Fresh’s grower relations in the Salinas/Watsonville, Calif., area. Mickey Owens also joined the sales team. Owens made the jump to the supplier side after 35 years with Kroger, most recently as a produce buyer.
GreenSpace Brands Inc., Canada
Maria Pacella resigned from the board of directors.
The Kroger Co., Cincinnati
Stuart Aitken was appointed to the newly-created role of senior vice president, alternative business, effective Feb. 3, assuming oversight for Kroger's alternative profit businesses, including 84.51° and Kroger Personal Finance (KPF). Aitken will also lead the development of a full portfolio of alternative businesses to support the transformation of Kroger's growth model. He will continue to serve as chief executive officer of 84.51° and oversee Kroger's marketing function. Aitken was elected group vice president in 2015, responsible for leading Kroger's data analytics subsidiary, 84.51°, as its chief executive officer since its inception in 2015. Aitken has also been helping transform Kroger's marketing efforts as chief marketing officer since 2017. Prior to this, he served as chief executive officer of unnhumbyUSA since 2010. Aitken maintains over 15 years of marketing, academic and technical experience across a variety of industries, and held various leadership roles with other companies, including Michael's Stores and Safeway, Inc. Meanwhile, Yael Cosset was promoted to senior vice president and chief information officer, succeeding Christopher Hjelm, who is retiring as executive vice president and chief information officer, effective May 1. Cosset will assume responsibility for the Kroger Technology function in addition to his current Kroger Digital portfolio, which includes underscoring the strategic integration of digital and technology initiatives. Hjelm joined Kroger as senior vice president and chief information officer in 2005, after an extensive career in technology, including key senior executive roles at FedEx, Orbitz and eBay. He was promoted to executive vice president in 2015. Cosset was elected group vice president and chief digital officer in January 2017, where he has been leading Kroger's digital growth strategy. He previously served as chief commercial officer and chief information officer of 84.51° since its inception in 2015. Prior to this, he held several leadership roles at dunnhumby, including executive vice president of consumer markets, global chief information officer and chief executive officer of KSS Retail.
B&G Foods, Inc., Parsippany, N.J.
Robert Cantwell, chief executive officer, announced plans to retire, effective April 5, after 35 years with the company, including 23 years of leadership as executive vice president of finance and CFO and more than 4 years of leadership as president and CEO. As a result, Kenneth Romanzi, who currently serves as executive vice president and COO, will become the company’s next president and CEO, effective upon Cantwell’s retirement. During Cantwell’s tenure, B&G Foods completed more than 20 acquisitions, including the Green Giant acquisition from General Mills. His list of accomplishments also include mergers and acquisitions, capital markets transactions, operational improvements and cost reduction efforts. Romanzi joined B&G Foods in December 2017. Prior to that, he served as president, fresh foods at WhiteWave Foods Corp., from March 2016 to October 2017, where he led Earthbound Farm Organic. Prior to joining WhiteWave, Romanzi served as senior vice president and chief operating officer, global brands of Ocean Spray Cranberries, Inc. from 2013-2015, and as senior vice president and COO of Ocean Spray’s North American food and beverage business from 2004-2013. Before that, Romanzi served as president, U.S. toys division of Hasbro Inc.; president and CEO of Ultimate Juice Co.; and president and CEO of Balducci’s Direct. Romanzi also served in positions of increasing responsibility at Nabisco, Inc., including president of Nabisco refrigerated foods and senior vice president sales and distribution of Nabisco Biscuit Co., and served as vice president, marketing and strategic planning, North America at Cadbury Schweppes. Romanzi began his career in marketing at Frito-Lay, Inc.
Flanagan Foodservice Inc., Canada
Dan Lafrance was named president, effective Feb. 19, providing strategic leadership to Flanagan Foodservice and working collaboratively with the chief executive officer, board of directors and entire Flanagan team. Flanagan has served as president and CEO since 1998. Lafrance maintains over 25 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry, where he achieved business success in sales, foodservice and senior management roles. He most recently served as Canadian vice president of sales and foodservice for Kraft Heinz Co.
Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn.
James Sheehan was promoted to executive vice president and CFO, effective Jan. 29, where he will oversee the company's financial enterprise, including accounting, information technology, internal audit, investor relations, corporate tax and treasury. Sheehan previously served as Hormel Foods’ senior vice president and CFO. His career began in 1978 with Hormel Foods in accounting. Over the years, he held various management and leadership positions in accounting and finance. In 1998, he became president of Hormel Financial Services, and a year later, became treasurer. He advanced to vice president and controller in 2000. He was named chief accounting officer in May 2016, and assumed the role of senior vice president and chief financial officer in October 2016.
TreeHouse Foods, Inc., Oak Brook, Ill.
Dean General will join as senior vice president and chief commercial officer, effective Feb. 18. General maintains over 30 years of consumer packaged goods and durables sales experience. He most recently served as global customer development lead and head of sales and senior vice president, outdoor recreation division at Newell Brands, where he led the delivery of sales and channel marketing plans to drive accelerated growth with key customers. Prior to Newell Brands, General was with Kraft Heinz and Kraft Foods for nearly 20 years, where he developed senior relationships with key national customers and led cross-functional teams for numerous businesses and divisions across North America. Prior to that, he led the customer business teams for Walmart and Kroger. He started his career at General Mills, where he held a number of sales and corporate development roles.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Atlanta
Charles Watson was appointed new chief executive officer, tasked with leading the brand through its next phase of strategic growth, including achieving $1 billion in sales and more than 1,500 cafes by 2023. Watson maintains more than 10 years of experience with Tropical Smoothie Café, and has led the company's franchise development efforts since 2010. He has served as chief development officer since 2015, responsible for selling more than 800 franchises during his tenure with the company.
Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky.
David Gibbs was promoted to president and COO, assuming operating leadership of global KFC division as well as the U.S. and international businesses of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Gibbs, a 29-year veteran of the company, has served as president and CFO for the last two years. Gibbs will also retain his current CFO role, title and responsibilities overseeing corporate strategy, finance, supply chain and information technology. Since joining in 1989, Gibbs has held a variety of leadership roles in all three of Yum’s global brands, including global strategy, finance, general management, operations and real estate. Before serving as president and CFO, he was the chief architect of Yum! Brands’ financial, re-franchising and restaurant development strategy to transform the company into a capital-light, pure play franchisor. Previously, he was chief executive officer of the global Pizza Hut division, and president and CFO of Yum! Restaurants International, responsible for growing KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell outside the United States and China, along with having general management responsibility for several international markets. Gibbs also served as Yum’s chief strategy officer, during which time he revamped Yum! Brands’ global restaurant operations model. He also served as Pizza Hut’s U.S. CFO and in various real estate and restaurant development leadership roles in KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
Tres Picosos, Denver, Colo.
Anissa Henry joined as director of development and senior burrito promoter, responsible for expanding the Tres Picosos, Mucho Muncho and Tres Locos brands, plus Naughty Chile Taqueria, the licensed restaurant concept. Henry maintains more than 15 years of retail experience, having most recently served as operations manager for J.D. Carpenter Cos., where she oversaw multiple 7-Eleven stores in the Denver area.
Primanti Bros. Restaurant and Bar, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Adam Golomb was named the company's first chief marketing officer, charged with overseeing the company’s marketing strategy, menu development and concept strategy. Golomb maintains more than 20 years of experience. He most recently served as senior director of gift card merchandising for Giant Eagle, where he oversaw the company’s third-party gift card marketplace. Prior to Giant Eagle, he was in various marketing roles for Eat'n Park Hospitality Group.
Brinker International, Inc., Dallas, Texas
Cindy Davis and John Chidsey joined the board of directors. Davis previously served as vice president of Nike, Inc. and president, Nike Golf. Prior to that, she was senior vice president at Golf Channel, a division of Comcast Corp., with responsibilities for golf sponsorships, sports marketing and media. Before that, she served as president and CEO of Arnold Palmer Golf Management, LLC. Davis also serves on the board of directors for Deckers Brands and Kennametal, Inc., and previously served on the board of Buffalo Wild Wings, Inc. Chidsey most recently served as chairman and CEO of Burger King Holdings, Inc. Prior to that, he held several executive leadership positions, including president and CFO. Chidsey served as chairman and CEO of two divisions of Cendant Corp., including brands such as Avis, Budget and Jackson-Hewitt, and held senior leadership positions at PepsiCo, Inc. Chidsey also serves on the board of directors for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd. and Encompass Health Corp.
Bojangles’, Inc., Charlotte, N.C.
Jose Armario was named new chief executive officer, following the acquisition by Durational Capital Management LP and The Jordan Co. L.P. Armario maintains 38 years of senior leadership experience with such brands as Burger King, Luxottica Group and McDonald’s. During his time with McDonald’s Corp., Armario served in several leadership positions, including president of McDonald’s Chile, group president of McDonald’s Canada and Latin America and executive vice president of worldwide supply chain, development and franchising. And, Brian Unger was named chief operating officer. Unger began his 30-year career in the restaurant business with McDonald’s, where he spent more than 20 years, eventually rising to senior vice president of operations. Unger has also served as chief operating officer for Einstein Noah Restaurants Group, Inc. and president and COO for Long John Silver’s.
JLS Automation, York, Pa.
John Hofer was named regional sales manager, central region for the United States and Canada. Hofer has experience as a technical product manager in the packaging industry, and will support sales for the Midwestern United States and Canada. Previously, Hofer held several roles during his 13 years with Multivac, including field service manager and automation technical product manager, where he created custom automated packaging solutions. Before Multivac, Hofer held several positions across different divisions at Barry-Wehmiller Cos., including senior project engineer, retrofit and rebuild sales and customer service.
Neogen Corp., Lansing, Mich.
John Adent was named chief executive officer, succeeding James Herbert, who has served as chief executive officer since the company's founding in 1982. Adent joined Neogen after 13 years as chief executive officer for Animal Health International (AHI), where he more than quadrupled revenues over the following decade through a series of acquisitions and joint ventures. AHI was acquired by the Patterson Cos. in 2015. Adent continued to serve as chief executive officer of the animal health division until he joined Neogen.
Primex Plastics Corp., Richmond, Ind.
Shelley Cooper was appointed territory business manager for Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Cooper maintains 20 years’ experience in the plastics industry, with technical expertise in the sales of packaging, tags, labels, signs and graphics. She’s also supervised sales and customer service teams, built new business channels, grew sales and managed production for an extrusion operation.
Eriez, Erie, Pa.
Dan Zimmerman was promoted to operations director, responsible for providing strategic leadership to the Eriez-USA operations teams. Zimmerman has been with Eriez since 2004, having most recently served as director of business development. Prior to joining Eriez, Zimmerman held positions at Texas Instruments and Kennametal.
Globe Food Equipment Co., Dayton, Ohio
Jason Grace was named regional sales manager, tasked with providing support to sales reps in the Western region of the United States. Grace maintains 15 years’ experience in the foodservice industry. He began his career in counter sales with a foodservice dealership, then moved to CAD design and bid projects, and was later promoted to general manager, overseeing all company functions. For the past 3 years, Grace was with a sales rep organization, where he was responsible for marketing and introducing new products for 30-plus manufacturers to foodservice consultants, dealers, chains, hotels/casinos and end users in southern Nevada and parts of southern California.
Seedo Corp., Tel Aviv, Israel
Dr. Jendayi Frazer, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and a leading voice for international policy, joined the board of directors. Frazer is president and CEO of 50 Ventures, LLC and managing partner of Africa Exchange Holdings Co. She previously served as the director of Carnegie Mellon's Center for International Policy and Innovation, with a particular focus on utilizing technology and applying innovative solutions to core issues of development and governance in Africa. Frazer was sworn in as the first woman U.S. Ambassador to South Africa in 2004, where U.S. assistance to Africa quadrupled, reaching $6.7 billion by 2008. She was also instrumental in establishing the Bush Administration's signature initiatives, including the $15 billion President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the Millennium Challenge Account that committed $3.2 billion to well-governed African countries by 2008. At 50 Ventures, she provides innovative ideas on governance, stability and security, enterprise and risk management in the region.
Emerge, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Grant Crawford was named president. Grant maintains nearly 3 decades of logistics experience, spanning back to 1991 when he joined FedEx Group in its startup stage. Most recently, he served as vice president of international operations for FedEx Freight.