SpartanNash president resigns, UNFI CFO departs, Yum! Brands elects new CEO, BrightFarms hires new CEO and more
The Blockchain In Transport Alliance (BiTA), Evergreen, Colo.
Richard Greening, global director of technology for The DDC Group and its DDC FPO division, was elected co-chair of the Bill Of Lading (BOL) Working Group. Greening takes over for Josh Kolar, founder of Asset Balance Solutions, who is stepping down from the chair role. Bob Hitt, industry go-to-market manager for Salesforce, will assume the other co-chair position. Greening maintains experience developing and deploying systems for freighter networks, freight forwarders, airside ground handling facilities and bonded warehouses. He also maintains 30 years’ experience in automation, innovation and analytics in data capture, business process outsourcing and bespoke technology.
Agri-Food Export Group, Canada
Martin Lavoie was named chief executive officer, succeeding André Coutu, who is retiring after leading the association since 2001 and working within the organization for 18 years. Lavoie has been involved in the agri-food sector for over 20 years in the agri-food sector, specifically with the export of food products and international trade and regulation. He has served as president and CEO of Canada Pork International since August 2017. In the previous six years, he has been a member of the management teams of two major Canadian meat companies, where he held senior positions in developing markets in Asia, Europe and Africa. Coutu led the association for nearly two decades. During his term, he implemented many services adapted to the real needs of exporters, and made a contribution to SIAL CANADA.
The California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA), Fresno, Calif.
Courtney Razor was hired as new director of member services and communications, effective Sept. 3. Razor has served as chief operations officer for the Fresno County Farm Bureau for the last 6.5 years, where she managed its Future Advocates for Agriculture Concerned about Tomorrow (FAACT) program, supported the needs of the board of directors and executive committee and oversaw special event planning.
Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI), Falls Church, Va.
Lynn Dyer announced plans to leave her positions as president to become vice president of sustainability for Pactiv. Dyer has been with FPI for over 20 years, where she helped quadruple membership, amplified FPI as the voice of the foodservice packaging industry and guided the industry’s environmental stewardship efforts. Prior to joining FPI in 1998, Dyer worked with the European Food Service & Packaging Association (now Pack2Go Europe).
Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), Canada
Cheryl Smith was hired as chief executive officer, effective Aug. 19, leading the executive team and driving DFO’s business interests, building key relationships with provincial and national stakeholders and strengthening partnerships with processors. Smith maintains 30 years of leadership experience, including leading a team of more than 150 employees. She recently retired from Parmalat as a member of the executive team and general manager of the cheese division. Prior to Parmalat, Smith held various marketing roles at Rogers and Unilever.
SpartanNash Co., Grand Rapids, Mich.
Chairman Dennis Eidson will become interim president and CEO, effective immediately, taking over for Dave Staples, president and CEO, who announced plans to resign. Eidson served as CEO from 2008-2017, and previously served as SpartanNash's president, COO and executive vice president of marketing and merchandising during his 16-year tenure with the company.
Tyson Foods, Inc., Springdale, Ark.
Noelle O’Mara was named chief marketing officer, tasked with leading the company’s prepared foods business, maintaining oversight of one-third of Tyson Foods’ manufacturing facilities and managing more than 25,000 team members. O’Mara maintains more than 17 years of general management experience, including profit and loss responsibility, food marketing and innovation. She joined Tyson Foods in April 2016 as vice president, new business models, and before that, served as general manager and senior vice president of the Tyson and Jimmy Dean business units before being named chief marketing officer earlier this year. O’Mara replaces outgoing leader Sally Grimes, who announced earlier this year her intent to leave Tyson Foods.
J&D Produce, Edinburg, Texas
Trent Bishop joined as vice president of sales. Bishop previously served as a Texas citrus executive.
United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI), Providence, R.I.
Mike Zechmeister announced plans to resign as chief financial officer, effective Aug. 23, to pursue an opportunity outside the company. John Howard was appointed interim CFO. Howard joined UNFI in July as senior vice president, finance and accounting. Howard maintains more than 20 years of experience leading finance teams, most recently as interim CFO for Prime Therapeutics. Before that, Howard served as vice president, corporate finance at Valspar Corp.
BrightFarms, Irvington, N.Y.
Steve Platt was hired as chief executive officer, while the company’s founder, Paul Lightfoot, will continue as president and founder. Platt is a veteran CPG executive with experience growing brands and leading top category performers. Most recently, he was chief executive officer of Icelandic Provisions, where he grew the company to more than 6,500 retail stores. Previously, Platt was an executive at Danone, where he led brands such as Dannon, Oikos, Danimals and YoCrunch.
Sun World International LLC, Los Angeles
David Marguleas was named chief executive officer, taking over for Merrill Dibble, who will serve as head of Renewable Resources Group’s agricultural perations, following the sale of its farming assets. Marguleas most recently served as Sun World’s executive vice president, where he managed Sun World Innovations, the firm’s breeding, technology and licensing business. Jeff Jackson joins as executive vice president/business development. Jackson maintains experience in farming, supply chain, sales and marketing. He has served in senior management roles at Chiquita, Moraitis, Earthbound Farms and Tanimura & Antle.
Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., Coral Gables, Fla.
Mary Ann Cloyd was elected independent director to the board of directors. Cloyd previously served more than 39 years at public accounting/consulting firms in both client service and operational roles, serving companies across a variety of industries, including retail, distribution, manufacturing and energy. She is also skilled in managing and growing business units, developing senior leadership, evaluating strategic opportunities and challenges and overseeing risk management. Cloyd is also well versed in corporate governance matters, including audit, risk, human resources and compensation.
Yum! Brands, Inc., Louisville, Ky.
David Gibbs was elected chief executive officer, effective Jan. 1, 2020, succeeding Greg Creed, who announced his decision to retire at the end of 2019 after a 25-year career with the company. Creed has served as Yum! Brands CEO since January 2015, where he executed the 2016 spinoff of Yum China. Prior to Yum! Brands, Creed led the global Taco Bell division as chief executive officer. Gibbs, who currently serves as Yum! Brands’ president and COO, will oversee the global KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions, and assume responsibility for the company’s overarching strategies, structure, people development and culture, focusing on driving global growth, sales and profitability at all Yum! franchise businesses worldwide. Since joining the company in 1989, Gibbs has held a variety of leadership roles in all three of YUM’s brands, including global strategy, finance, general management, operations and real estate. Earlier this year, he was promoted to president and COO, assuming operating leadership of the global KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell divisions. Before this role, he served as Yum! Brands’ president and CFO and was the chief architect of Yum! Brands’ financial, refranchising and restaurant development strategy to transform the company into a 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! Brands’ chief strategy officer, during which time he revamped the company’s global restaurant operations model, served as Pizza Hut U.S. CFO and in various real estate and restaurant development leadership roles in KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
Universal Forest Products, Inc. (UFPI), Grand Rapids, Mich.
Allen Peters will become president and COO of UFP Retail; Patrick Benton will become president of UFP Construction; and Scott Worthington will become president of UFP Industrial, following the company’s newly organized structure. During the transition period, Pat Webster will maintain his duties as chief operating officer of UFPI, and will take on COO responsibility for UFP Construction and UFP Industrial. Jonathan West will become executive vice president of factory built housing in the construction segment. Chad Eastin will become executive vice president of ProWood.
CBRE, Los Angeles
Meghann Martindale joined as global head of retail research, succeeding Melina Cordero, who was promoted to managing director of retail capital markets. Martindale maintains 19 years’ experience in retail real estate and is a frequent university lecturer and instructor. She will work with the company’s retail leaders and professionals to generate in-depth research and analysis examining the ongoing evolution of the retail industry into a consumer-directed, omnichannel marketplace. Martindale returns to CBRE, where she worked as a leasing and sales associate from 2001-2006. Her career also includes work as a consultant on international retail expansion strategies, asset stabilization, leasing, development and repositioning. She also spent many years in leasing roles at Simon Property Group, Related Urban and Terranomics Retail Services. Her leasing career spans projects totaling more than 15 million square feet of retail, mixed use, restaurant, entertainment and food hall space.
R2 Logistics, Inc., Dallas, Texas
Rob Bade was hired to manage the company’s new specialized solutions office in Chattanooga, Tenn. Bade is an industry veteran who maintains decades of experience. Previously, he was responsible for growth strategies at Kenco Group, Coyote Logistics and C.H. Robinson. Brad Kilpatrick will oversee strategic operations and pricing.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America (MHIA), Hunt Valley, Md.
Patrick Ranson was named senior sales manager for North America for the corrugating machinery division. Ranson maintains 27 years’ experience in the corrugated industry. Previously, he was general manager of Pratt Industries’ Allentown, Pa., facility, and prior to that, served as plant manager. He also worked in increasingly responsible positions for a range of leading corrugated companies.
Chroma Color Corp., McHenry, Ill.
Jerry O’Grady joined as market development specialist – packaging and healthcare. O’Grady maintains extensive experience with consumer packaged goods (CPG) brand owners, as well as in plastics, colorants and additives. For more than 30 years, he’s held regional, national and international sales and marketing roles in the colorants and additives space. For the past 11 years, O’Grady was employed at Clariant, where he gained skills in managing multimillion-dollar global accounts, supporting color development, providing technical training and global relationship support. He was also involved with pricing mechanisms and contract negotiations. Prior to joining Clariant, O’Grady spent more than 18 years in sales at PolyOne.
Norfolk Southern Corp., Norfolk, Va.
Michael Farrell was named senior vice president operations and mechanical, assuming responsibility for transportation and mechanical functions. Farrell joined Norfolk Southern in 2018 as senior vice president transportation, where he led the company’s efforts to transform service offerings and field operations. He also maintains a railroad career that comprises three decades of transformative operations experience at four Class I railroads. And, Vanessa Allen Sutherland was appointed senior vice president government relations and chief legal officer, assuming responsibility for government relations and law. Allen Sutherland joined Norfolk Southern in 2018 as vice president law, and was named senior vice president and chief legal officer in April. Before Norfolk Southern, Allen Sutherland held various government and corporate legal positions, including chief executive officer and chairperson of the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and chief counsel with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.
LSI Industries Inc., Cincinnati
Thomas Caneris was hired as senior vice president, human resources and general counsel, effective Aug. 5, tasked with focusing on the acceleration of the company’s initiatives to retain and attract top talent, deliver a customer-centric organization and workforce and guide on all aspects of human resources. Caneris maintains more than 30 years of experience as a practicing attorney and senior advisor in both public and private company settings, dealing with communications, investor relations and government affairs. Most recently, he was senior vice president at PharMerica Corp. from 2007-2019, where he led the human resources group and served as general counsel. Earlier in his career, Caneris served as commercial affairs counsel for AK Steel Corp.
Emergent Holdings, Portland, Maine
Jacob Bartlett was named chief executive officer, taking over for Jason Mitchell, who has led the subsidiary, Whole Oceans, for the past year, but is now stepping down from a leadership role. Bartlett will help oversee the completion of the Whole Oceans’ recirculating aquaculture system, designed to raise Atlantic salmon in the heart of Bucksport, Maine. Bartlett is a seasoned global executive with extensive experience in strategy, marketing, project management, business development and innovation. In 2005, he founded Neptune’s Keep, which in 2007, he sold to Pranger Enterprises. Bartlett’s role with Pranger grew from managing technology to running the aquaculture division. He also played a major role in the design and construction of what was said to be the first genetically-modified Atlantic salmon farm in the world.
IN MEMORIUM: KEN MARTIN, RIO QUEEN CITRUS
Ken Martin, former president of Rio Queen Citrus, Mission, Texas, passed away Aug. 7.
Martin grew up on a dairy farm, but became a funeral director in Fulton, Mo. There, he met his wife, Sue Ware, and in 1970, moved to Rio Grande Valley, Texas, to help her manage her father’s citrus orchards, Warehouse Farms.
In 1987, Ware sold his interest in the company, and in 1998, Warehouse Farms merged with Elmore & Stahl, Pharr, Texas, to form Rio Queen Citrus Inc. Martin was president at Rio Queen, and Elmore & Stahl continued to operate separately.
Rio Queen grew, packed and shipped Texas citrus, and sold onions year-round with supplies from Texas, Mexico, Colorado and New Mexico.
His son, Mike Martin, became sales manager for the two companies, before becoming president of Rio Queen in 2003.