Ocean Spray: Tom Hayes

Some good news from Massachusetts: Ocean Spray announced this week that its Board of Directors has unanimously elected Tom Hayes as the cooperative’s next president and chief executive officer.

photo courtesy of Ocean Spray Cranberries.

From the press release:

Hayes is the former president and CEO of Tyson Foods, the largest food company in the U.S. with $40 billion in sales and 122,000 employees…

“Ocean Spray is a unique company – one that asks its leaders to speak the language of consumers, farmers, grocers, bankers, manufacturers and employees all at once. In Tom Hayes, we believe we have found a leader who can speak to all of these audiences and continue the transformation of this cooperative,” said Peter Dhillon, chairman of the Ocean Spray Board of Directors. “Tom’s expertise in supply chain management, his understanding of agriculture and the challenges faced by growers, and his decades of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry make him ideally suited to lead Ocean Spray into its second century. We are thrilled to welcome Tom on board.”

“For everyone who grew up in New England, the Ocean Spray name is not just a global brand – it’s part of our culture. The heritage of the company and its 700 farmer owners is one to be celebrated and shared across the world, and I want to ensure it is protected and positioned to grow for a long time to come,” said Hayes. “Joining Ocean Spray at such a pivotal moment, as it approaches its centennial, presents an extraordinary opportunity to look toward the future, tackle new challenges, and ensure that this cooperative will succeed for another hundred years.”

A native of southern New Hampshire, Hayes earned a BA from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from Northwestern University. Prior to leading Tyson, Hayes was the Chief Supply Chain Officer at Hillshire Brands and Sara Lee. He has also held significant leadership roles at US Foods, ConAgra, and Kraft. Most recently, Hayes served as a partner at Entrepreneurial Equity Partners (e2p), a private equity firm that invests in middle market companies in the food industry.

Pine Island CEO Bill Haines was a member of the Board’s search committee and is very happy with the decision: “As a farmer-owner, I’m really excited to have Tom Hayes come on board to lead Ocean Spray,” he says. “The team has done a great job through the crisis of the last four months, and we’re looking forward to even bigger and better things now that Tom is on board. I think that he’s exactly the kind of leader that our farmer cooperative needs.”

Welcome to the co-op, Tom!

*Photo courtesy of Ocean Spray.

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