SunOpta Inc. a U.S.-based global company fueling the future of sustainable, plant-based foods and beverages, announced the planned retirement of Joseph D. Ennen. After five years of dedicated service, Ennen will retire from SunOpta as its Chief Executive Officer and director on SunOpta’s Board of Directors.
The Board has appointed Brian W. Kocher as the new CEO, effective January 2, 2024. In conjunction with this appointment, Kocher will also become a member of the Board.
Kocher brings a wealth of experience in manufacturing intensive businesses in complex, multi-national organizations and has a strong track record of driving growth and productivity improvements. He previously served as President and Chief Executive Officer of both Calavo Growers Inc., a global avocado-industry leader and provider of convenient, ready-to-eat fresh food and Castellini Group of Companies, a nationwide produce distribution and supply chain service organization, as well as interim Chief Executive Officer of Chiquita.
The Board is confident in Kocher’s ability to lead SunOpta through its next phase of growth and his experience expanding margins and driving operational productivity will be incredibly valuable to the business. To ensure a seamless transition, which the Board believes is in the best interests of all stakeholders, Ennen will continue as an advisor to the Board and Kocher until April 1, 2024.
“On behalf of the entire Board, I want to thank Joe for his invaluable leadership of SunOpta over the past five years. Joe's vision and tireless commitment to the success of the Company led to a complete portfolio transformation and solidified our balance sheet, strengthening SunOpta’s competitive position and creating a powerful foundation to support an even brighter future. It has been a privilege to work with Joe and we wish him the absolute best in his retirement. With Joe's support, we were thrilled to find Brian and are confident he is the right leader to continue the Company's strategy to deliver significant long-term sustainable growth and value for shareholders," said Dean Hollis, Chair of SunOpta's Board.
"It has been an honor to serve as CEO of SunOpta during this period of transformative growth and I especially want to thank the SunOpta team for their passion, hard work and dedication,” said Ennen.
Kocher commented, “I am thrilled to serve as SunOpta's next CEO and would like to thank Joe and the Board for entrusting me to lead the Company as we enter this new chapter. Joe has set a strong foundation for SunOpta's growth and success, and I'm excited to continue this momentum by working toward our collective mission of fueling the future of food.”
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