SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Mark Jansen, has been selected by the Blue Diamond Growers Board of Directors to replace retiring President and CEO, Doug Youngdahl. Jansen will officially join Blue Diamond on 4 October, 2010 and will address the cooperative's grower-owners at their centennial annual meeting at the Sacramento Convention Center on 18 November, 2010. Youngdahl will retire at the end of 2010.
Prior to accepting his new position as President and CEO of Blue Diamond, Jansen was President of Schwan's Food Service, Inc., a division of the Schwan Food Company, which is a multibillion-dollar family-owned company. It employs 22,000 people in 50 countries worldwide. With headquarters in Marshall, Minnesota, the company sells frozen foods on its traditional delivery trucks, in grocery-store freezers, online and in the food service industry.
"Mark brings to Blue Diamond a unique understanding of retail and consumer brands," said Chairman of the Board and grower of McFarland, California, Clinton Shick, who has served on the board for 27 years (the last four years as chairman). "He led a profitable turnaround of the Schwan Foodservice Division and is a proven brand-builder who influenced substantial growth for Haagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Totino's, Pillsbury, Red Baron, Freschetta, Wolfgang Puck, Tony's and Minh."
Jansen received an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. Prior to joining Schwan, he worked for the Pillsbury Company, Edison Brothers Stores, Inc. and General Mills.
"In addition to pure unadulterated brand strength, our ability to open new markets, develop new products and foster enduring customer partnerships are strengths that will ensure Blue Diamond's global reach remains unmatched in the industry," according to President and CEO, Doug Youngdahl. "I am proud that the Blue Diamond team is the most experienced in the industry. Our plan is to continue to play a leadership role in expanding global consumption — we can and should do no less."
Blue Diamond is owned by over half of California's almond growers who are celebrating their centennial year. To honor its first 100 years, the co-op has made the world's largest collection of almond history available at almondhistory.com. It features The Almond People book, vintage photos, stories and video that captures the heritage of an industry that became the state's #1 food export, ranks among the nation's top 10 exports and provides the world with over 80 percent of its almond supply. The California almond industry is valued at over $3 billion with over 70 percent of the crop exported to 95 countries.
SOURCE Blue Diamond Growers