Gorton’s Seafood president retires, Walmart shuffles around execs, and more personnel announcements
Brighter Bites, Houston, Texas
Rich Dachman was appointed new chief executive officer. Dachman maintains more than 40 years of experience in the produce industry, with 28 of them at Sysco Corp. Dachman retired from Sysco last month (see below) as vice president of produce, and has been a member of the Brighter Bites board of directors for more than 3 years. Dachman began his produce career with his family-owned business. Following the sale of the family business, he and his father opened a new foodservice operation for Kraft Foods, Inc. before Dachman joined Kraft’s corporate office as national director of produce in 1987. In 1992, he joined FreshPoint Inc. as president of FreshPoint operating companies in Houston, Denver, Atlanta and the company’s central procurement office in Salinas, Calif. When Sysco acquired FreshPoint in 2000, Dachman was appointed senior vice president, Western region, and in 2007, was promoted to vice president of produce for Sysco.
The National Pork Board, Des Moines, Iowa
Jerry Flint was named vice president of engagement and outreach, effective Aug. 1. Flint spent his career in agriculture with progressive leadership roles in production agriculture, science, research, biotechnology and sustainability. He joined Corteva in 2010, and held positions specifically linked to global business management, sustainability, external relations, regulatory approvals and product research and development. Prior to Corteva, Flint was director of regulatory affairs at Monsanto, which included spending 3 years in Singapore leading technology research and development in the Asia Pacific region. Flint currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Agriculture at Purdue University. He is also the past president of the American Seed Trade Association, past chair of the Biotech Innovation Organization Food and Agriculture Governing Board and has served on the USDA Agriculture Advisory Council.
The Center for Food Integrity (CFI), Kansas City, Mo.
Craig Wilson, vice president of quality assurance and food safety at Costco Wholesale Corp., joined the board of directors. In addition, Bill Even, chief executive officer of the National Pork Board, was elected vice president. Even previously served as the global industry relations lead for DuPont Pioneer. Kirk Merritt, executive director of Ohio Soybean Council, was elected secretary/treasurer is. Directors elected to the executive committee are David Fikes, vice president, communications and community/consumer affairs for the Food Marketing Institute; Monica Massey, executive vice president and chief of staff for Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.; and Emily McMillan, principal program lead, public affairs Chick-Fil-A, Inc.
Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, Long Beach, Calif.
Harbor commissioner Bonnie Lowenthal was elected president, overseeing the Port of Long Beach and the staff of the City’s Harbor Department. Lowenthal has served Long Beach in a public role for decades. She is a former state assemblywoman, city councilwoman, vice mayor and Long Beach Unified School District Board member. She has also worked as a licensed family counselor and mental health consultant. As well, Frank Colonna was elected vice president, while Lou Anne Bynum was named secretary.
The Produce Marketing Association (PMA), Newark, Del.
Richard Owen will step into a new leadership role as vice president of membership and engagement focused on supporting PMA’s efforts in the western United States and Canada. Owen will be responsible for engaging new members in the region and helping all members take advantage of PMA’s year-round value. In addition, he will increase his leadership role as PMA’s global trade and policy expert, providing insights on the impacts of tariffs, trade agreements and related issues on the produce industry and members. Owen has been a part of PMA since 2009, when he joined as director of global business development, and has served as senior leader for the past two years. Prior to his time at PMA, Owen’s career included time as director of agricultural affairs at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, where his portfolio included Russia, Eastern Europe, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Israel. Owen was also head of the Airline Passenger Experience Association, Montana Grain Growers Association and National Association of Wheat Growers Foundation.
National Grocers Association (NGA), Arlington, Va.
Greg Ferrara was appointed president and CEO, effective Sept. 1, succeeding Peter Larkin, who in October 2018, announced his retirement. Ferrara currently serves as executive vice president of NGA, responsible for overseeing NGA’s advocacy and lobbying efforts, public relations, industry relations and retail and wholesale membership. He is NGA’s chief lobbyist, responsible for representing the association and its members before Members of Congress, federal agencies and the executive branch on a wide variety of issues while also overseeing the NGA’s political and grassroots affairs, including the NGA Grocers PAC. Ferrara is also responsible for working with and maintaining relationships between NGA and its state trade association partners. Ferrara joined NGA in November 2005, and maintains a wealth of experience in the grocery industry having managed his family’s century-old supermarket before it was ultimately destroyed in Hurricane Katrina. Ferrara also worked as a corporate project manager for Associated Grocers.
Sanderson Farms, Inc., Laurel, Miss.
Sonia Pérez was elected to the company’s board of directors, effective July 18, serving as a Class C director through 2022. Pérez currently serves as president of AT&T Southeast States, where she is responsible for developing the overall strategic direction of AT&T’s corporate activities throughout her region. She leads AT&T’s workforce, oversees operations, including its technology deployment and infrastructure investment and directs teams responsible for implementing public policy, legislative, regulatory and philanthropic initiatives. Prior to this position, she was named the first woman president of AT&T Louisiana in 2010, having previously worked in various management capacities at AT&T in Houston and McAllen, Texas. Pérez currently serves as chair of the board of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, and is past chair of the state’s business roundtable, the Committee of 100. She previously led the governor’s Economic Development Transition Team, is the immediate past chair of the Board of Trustees of Xavier University of Louisiana and a governor’s appointee on the Louisiana Board of Regents. She is also a member of the University of Texas System Foundation Board, and in 2006, was the first Latina-elected president of the Texas Exes. Pérez is also a member of the board of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.
Gorton's Seafood, Gloucester, Mass.
Judson Reis announced plans to retire as president and CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Reis has been with the company for more than 29 years. Upon his retirement, Kurt Hogan will be promoted from vice president of sales to president and CEO of Gorton's. For the last 10 years, Reis has simplified retail product ingredients, improved health profiles, upgraded core products, added new innovations and established cross functional teams. Reis joined Gorton's in 1990 as an associate marketing manager. After holding several marketing positions, he was promoted to vice president of marketing in 2004, and was named president and CEO in 2009. He has also taken leadership positions in the seafood industry as chairman of the National Fisheries Institute and founding chairman of the Seafood Nutrition Partnership. Hogan maintains a 28-year tenure with Gorton's. Hogan joined Gorton's in 1991 as a field-based regional business manager, after spending 6 years in sales positions with General Foods. In 1995, he became an area trade planning manager in customer marketing. From 1995-2010, he held several progressively sales management positions. In 2010, he was named director of sales, with responsibility for sales leadership in the Northeast United States, Canada and for all sales administration. Then, in February 2012, he was promoted to vice president of sales, a role he has held for the last 7 years.
MariMed Inc., Norwood, Mass.
Jonathan Rider was appointed to the newly created position of chief information officer, effective immediately, tasked with implementing data collection plans using techniques in sampling, data capture, processing tools, system security and regulatory compliance. He will also be responsible for the daily IT operations, infrastructure and global business systems throughout the company. Rider maintains over 25 years of technology experience, and has held multiple senior leadership positions across various industries, with a consistent focus on supporting global business operations. For instance, while at Monster.com, he led its data warehouse and business systems teams handling 10 million transactions daily with over 50 million users and data spanning 20 countries. He was chief information officer of Gilbane building company, where he designed and built a cloud-based construction and facility management application reducing construction costs and build times for 600 internal users and thousands of contractors. Previous to that, he was senior vice president of Arcadia Solutions, where he managed the development and deployment of healthcare transformation software for clients throughout the United States. He also holds a patent for Electronic Health Record Data Mining. He also served as chief operating officer at SeaChange International, where he was instrumental in turning a $40 million annual loss into a $14 million profit in one year. Rider also boasts experience in advanced manufacturing process methodologies, and is a decorated U.S. Army instructor pilot.
Walmart, Bentonville, Ark.
The company announced plans to bring the U.S. supply chain teams together, which will be led by Greg Smith, current executive vice president of Walmart U.S. supply chain. Nate Faust will lead e-commerce fulfillment for Walmart, after joining the company as part of the Jet.com acquisition in 2016. Faust will assist with the integration of the new leadership teams before moving to a new, yet-to-be announced position within the organization. Walmart’s services and digital acceleration team will be led by Daniel Eckert, the returns team led by Linne Fulcher and the media group led by Stef Jay. Walmart U.S. chief financial officer Michael Dastugue will lead the new blended team. Steve Schmitt will become the new U.S. e-commerce chief financial officer supporting Lore’s team. Schmitt is currently the Sam’s Club chief financial officer. Ashley Buchanan will move from the executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Sam’s Club to be the chief merchandising officer for U.S. e-commerce. Andy Dunn, co-founder of Bonobos, is currently is in charge of the digitally native brands Walmart acquired, including Eloquii, Modcloth and others. Brandi Joplin, currently chief audit executive, will take on the role of Sam’s Club chief financial officer. And, Todd Sears, currently assistant controller, will be promoted to chief audit executive. Jeff Shotts will lead the U.S. marketplace business. Shotts maintains prior experience building a marketplace business.
Sysco Corp., Houston, Texas
Julie Olivarria, current senior director of Sysco Produce, assumed the role of vice president of produce, taking over for Rich Dachman, who announced plans to retire as vice president of produce to become chief executive officer of Brighter Bites (see above). Dachman has spent more than three decades in fresh produce, and began his career at FreshPoint in 1992, which Sysco later acquired in 2000.
Berner Food & Beverage LLC, Dakota, Ill.
Robert Carpino joined as national account manager for Berner’s private label segment, responsible for building strategic relationships with new and existing customer-partners, and helping retailers grow market share, differentiate from their competition and widen profitability with private label brands. Carpino maintains over 20 years of sales and business management experience with Nestlé Nutrition.
The Shryne Group, Los Angeles
Charmaine Chua joined as senior vice president of sales to oversee the company’s wholesale and distribution programs. Chua maintains 15 years of sales experience in a highly regulated consumer packaged goods industry. She joined Philip Morris USA in 2004, now a subsidiary of Altria Group, where she most recently served as senior district manager, overseeing a 35-person sales team covering 3,000 retail stores and generating $450 million in annual sales. She also led Altria’s partnership with Walgreens, driving sales in over 6,000 stores.
Mike Eklund was named chief financial officer, responsible for the overall financial management of IRI and its financial reporting and transparency, including accounting, financial planning and analysis, treasury, tax, audit, real estate and procurement. Eklund previously served as chief operating officer and the chief financial officer of DJO Global, where he he led the transformation of the company, culminating in a transaction from the Blackstone Group to a publicly traded strategic buyer earlier this year. Prior to DJO Global, Eklund maintained a 20-year career with Dell Technologies, where he last served as the senior vice president of the Dell/EMC value creation and integration management office. He also served as chief financial officer of Dell’s Solutions Business Unit and Global Operations organization. In this role, he was responsible for leading Dell’s global productivity transformation office, where he developed an affordability framework to define the core business model, identifying $3 billion of productivity improvements and executing structural and quality savings of over $300 million. He also served as vice president of strategy, business planning and operations for Dell’s enterprise solutions group. Eklund maintains a wealth of global experience, including finance and operating and treasury roles. In addition, he completed a 3-year international assignment as finance director for Dell’s emerging markets business, which grew significantly under his leadership. He began his career in public accounting as a staff accountant in tax and audit, followed by a 2-year stint in the oil and gas industry in a variety of staff accounting and finance roles. He succeeds Brian Coderre, who has served as acting CFO and will continue to serve as IRI’s North American CFO. And, Evan Swidler was appointed chief human resources officer, overseeing global human resources efforts, talent and performance management, organizational change efforts, staffing, benefits and compensation. Swidler most recently served as chief human resources officer for ATI Physical Therapy, where he focused on attracting top talent, creating new opportunities for growth/development, building leadership pipelines and rewarding high performance. Prior to ATI, Swidler spent nearly 5 years at The Nielsen Co. in various senior HR-focused roles, including chief human resources officer for North and South America, Europe and the Pacific. Earlier in his career, Swidler spent 12 years at Accenture in its management consulting practice, focused on process, technology and talent transformation in its consumer goods and retail practice. He succeeds Susan Bennett, who has been serving as chief human resources officer on an interim basis, and will continue to serve as IRI’s chief legal counsel. Carrie Shea joined as managing partner of growth consulting for IRI Strategic Analytics, where she will work with partners to advance IRI’s growth consulting practice. Shea maintains more than 25 years of growth strategy and due diligence consulting experience in consumer products, retail, manufacturing and private equity industries. She also maintains vast expertise in building demand-based growth strategies, leveraging qualitative and quantitative consumer and shopper insights, real-time social media insights and syndicated data. Previously, Shea served as president and chief transformation officer of North America for Ipsos. Earlier in her career, Shea co-founded and was chief executive officer for Griffin Strategic Advisors, which was acquired by Acosta. Prior to that, Shea led the global strategy practice at Archstone Consulting, and served as a partner at A.T. Kearney and a principal at The Cambridge Group.
JBS USA, Greeley, Colo.
Dean Hollis, former president and COO of ConAgra Foods’ consumer foods segment, joined the independent advisory board. Hollis maintains significant experience in food innovation and leading business transformation in the consumer packaged goods sector. Greg Heckman, the newly appointed chief executive officer of Bunge Ltd, will transition off the board to accommodate his increased responsibilities at Bunge. Hollis maintains more than 35 years of executive experience managing businesses in the retail and consumer products industries. During his 21 years with ConAgra Foods, Hollis developed and executed a worldwide business transformation strategy, while overseeing its consumer and customer branded businesses. Since 2008, Hollis has been a senior advisor for Oaktree Capital. He also serves on the boards of Hain Celestial Group, SunOpta, Boardriders and The Nature Conservancy.
Foundation Food Group, Inc. (FFG), Gainesville, Ga.
Bernard "B.J." Svajgl joined as new senior vice president of operations to drive operational excellence at FFG's four processing plants with par fry, fully cooked and marinated flat pack processing capabilities. Svajgl previously served as operations manager of Pilgrim's Pride Corp., where he oversaw a complete overhaul of the processes and standards in the company's Waco, Texas, plant. Prior to that, he spent 16 years with Keystone Foods, most recently as general manager. Svajgl maintains a 39-year career in the U.S. foodservice poultry and beef industries.
Foremost Farms USA, Baraboo, Wis.
Michael Doyle announced plans to retire as president and CEO by the end of the year. Doyle has been president and CEO since 2014, where he formed an alliance with Michigan Milk Producers Association, executed the sale of the company’s Rothschild, Wis., facility and oversaw the construction of the cooperative’s new Greenville, Mich., state-of-the-art milk processing plant. Doyle also led standardizations across the company’s plant network. Doyle retires with more than 20 years in the food industry. He joined Foremost Farms in 2007 as senior vice president-finance/CFO. Prior to joining Foremost Farms, he held leadership positions with Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, LLC and Land O’Lakes, Inc. Doyle is a board member of the International Dairy Foods Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Cheese Institute and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.
C&S Wholesale Grocers, Keene, N.H.
Asad Husain, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, announced plans to retire, effective Dec. 31. During his tenure, he drove numerous people and culture initiatives, and within the human resources organization, he transformed the function into a best-practice model.
Moe’s Southwest Grill, Atlanta
Jason Gronlund was appointed executive chef, responsible for leading the development and execution of culinary strategies, as well as driving innovation for Moe’s new and existing menu items. Gronlund maintains over 25 years of foodservice industry experience in product innovation, recipe development and operations management, specifically with extensive experience working for and representing national and international restaurant brands and products. Gronlund previously served as director of ingredient sales and culinary services at Tobasco, and before that, led culinary at Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, where he also gained experience in budget management, product rollout, training and purchasing. Gronlund also served as culinary director at Hard Rock Café, where he led recipe development for its 178 restaurants worldwide, and as a product development lead for Carla’s Pasta.
Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky.
Mark King joined as chief executive officer of Taco Bell division. King maintains extensive retail experience in driving growth, innovation, brand relevance and culture. King most recently served as president, adidas Group North America, before stepping down in 2018 to serve as executive emeritus for adidas. Under King’s leadership the previous four years, adidas became what is said to be the fastest-growing sports brand in North America, increasing sales by 35% in 2017 and doubling market share. From 2003-2014, King was chief executive officer of TaylorMade-adidas Golf. In addition, Artie Starrs, president of Pizza Hut U.S., was promoted to chief executive officer of Pizza Hut division. Under Starrs’ leadership, Pizza Hut U.S. focused on the customer experience through continuous improvements in food quality, delivery service and a broad suite of digital initiatives. Partnering with franchisees, the brand continues to execute hot, fast and reliable initiatives, improving average delivery time and increasing customer satisfaction scores. At the end of 2018, Starrs led the company’s acquisition of QuikOrder. Since Starrs joined Pizza Hut U.S. in 2013, he has held various leadership positions, including general manager and chief financial officer.
TABS Analytics, Shelton, Conn.
Arthur Drogue joined the board of directors. Drogue has served as chairman of the SPAR Group since 2013, also holding roles as chairman of the Governance Committee, lead director and member of the Audit and Compensation Committees. Before joining SPAR, Drogue held several senior roles at Unilever, most recently as senior vice president of sales and customer development for the America’s, and prior to that, he led Unilever’s U.S. sales and customer development organization for 8 years while merging six separate companies into one consumer packaged goods company. His previous professional experience includes senior management positions at Best Foods, Nabisco, Northeastern Organization and General Mills. Drogue has also held positions on several corporate and industry boards, including GS1 U.S., Apollo Foods, Demers Foods and Ruiz Foods. He served as an operating partner at Raptor Consumer Fund, and is a founding partner in The Resource Team.
Pelican Products, Inc., Torrance, Calif.
Frank Gennaco was hired as director of worldwide procurement, responsible for the consistent delivery of components and finished goods required to maximize customer on time delivery service levels with the right amount of inventory. He will set strategies to ensure items are delivered at the best quality and value, and support Pelican’s sourcing team and the supply chain operations team to ensure raw materials and finished goods will adequately satisfy Pelican’s global demand. Gennaco maintains almost 25 years of purchasing and supply chain experience. He previously worked for Honeywell International Inc. across numerous divisions of the company.
Stertil-Koni, Stevensville, Md.
Tim Kerr joined as product manager, responsible for spearheading a range of initiatives, including new product concepts, advancing customer satisfaction and training the company’s North American distributor network. Kerr maintains experience with complex electro-mechanical systems from concept and design to installation and commissioning of industrial equipment, as well as expertise in after-sales support, on-site training and system enhancements.
Johnson Controls International plc, Ireland
Jeff Williams was named vice president and president, global products, building technologies and solutions, effective immediately, succeeding Bill Jackson, who is leaving the company Aug. 9 to pursue other opportunities. Williams recently served as vice president, building solutions, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Latin America (EMEALA) for Johnson Controls, where he led sustained growth and improved margins across the region. Williams joined Johnson Controls in 1984, and has previously served as vice president of enterprise operations and engineering, where he led the company's $16 billion automotive experience spin-off, resulting in a separately traded company known as Adient. Prior to that, he was group vice president and general manager, product group complete seat and supply chain, automotive experience, where he drove standardization in design, manufacturing processes and equipment to establish global best practices for cost, quality and efficiency.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Hunt Valley, Md.
Darrold Phillips was promoted to vice president, service, overseeing the company’s customer service department, parts sales department and rebuild department to ensure timely and appropriate resolution to customer requests. Phillips, a 20-year industry veteran, joined the company in 2002 as field service engineer, and served in increasingly responsible positions, including customer service engineer; manager, customer service; and director, customer service. Prior to joining MHIA, he worked for United Container as parts sales representative and customer technical support, and before that, as field engineer at Langston Corrugated, where he installed and serviced corrugated machinery across the United States, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa, South America and Australia. Ryan Murphy was promoted to manager, customer service. Murphy joined MHIA in January 2017 as customer services engineer, where he worked with customers across North America, collaborating with field service engineers to work on more than 130 EVOLs and corrugating machines. Murphy also trained new employees in reading mechanical and electrical drawings, conducting proper customer communication and understanding the design and function protocols of EVOL. He began his career in sales engineering at CaptiveAire Systems.
IN MEMORIUM: JERRY HAVEL, FRESH FARMS
Jerry Havel, director of sales for Fresh Farms, Rio Rico, Ariz., passed away July 17, a courageous fight with cancer.
In 1995, he founded of US Fresh, Visalia, Calif., which he then merged with SunFed, Nogales, Ariz. In 2006, the company became Fresh Farms, where he was then appointed director of sales.
He is survived by his wife, Margie Havel, and his three children Joseph, Elly and Daniel.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life Service on July 26 at 3 p.m. at the Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St., Tucson, AZ 85719. In lieu of flowers or donations, please spend time with your loved ones and share a laugh, as Jerry would have wanted.