DALLAS, April 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Dean Foods Company today announced that Debbie Carosella has joined the company as senior vice president, Innovation, overseeing innovation strategies and initiatives for Dean Dairy Group and WhiteWave Foods. Carosella brings more than 20 years of experience to her role, including a track record of building brands and product portfolios by transforming business and consumer insights into strategic innovation programs -- most recently at ConAgra Foods.

Carosella will be responsible for developing long-term new product innovation strategies to accelerate Dean Foods' future growth and increase speed to market for new products. Specifically, she is charged with leading the company's efforts to identify, assess and develop new product solutions that meet consumer and customer needs for dairy products and beverages.

"Dean Foods is fortunate to have an experienced innovator and leader in Debbie Carosella," stated Gregg Engles, chief executive officer and chairman of the Board of Dean Foods. "Debbie's ability to manage fast-moving consumer goods businesses, grow existing brands and develop new product and packaging innovations will be invaluable to Dean Foods," said Engles.

At ConAgra, Carosella served as vice president, Strategic Marketing and Innovation, where she created and implemented marketing, business development and innovation strategies that drove long-term growth across ConAgra's consumer retail businesses. Before that post, she held executive positions within the company's Grocery Division, where she oversaw the development of new product strategies and growth initiatives within the wellness and organic arenas. Also at ConAgra, Carosella led a 40-member cross-functional team as general manager for the Meals Group, including Healthy Choice, La Choy, Butterball, Banquet Homestyle Bakes and Chef Boyardee.

In addition to her food industry experience, Carosella worked in the biotechnology and nutrition arenas where she oversaw business development for new product platforms at Monsanto Company. She also worked in the nutrition group as brand strategy and equity leader.

Carosella's experience also includes extensive advertising agency and consulting work. She spent the early part of her career at nationally renowned agencies such as J. Walter Thompson, consulting for leading consumer goods clients including Anheuser-Busch, Eagle Snacks, Nestle Confections, Kraft and M&M Mars.

From the April 9, 2007, Prepared Foods e-Flash