Blue Diamond Names New President

August 11/Food Business Week -- 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 October 4, 2010 and will address the cooperative's grower-owners at their centennial annual meeting at the Sacramento Convention Center on November 18, 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, Minn., the company sells frozen foods on its traditional delivery trucks, in grocery-store freezers, online and in the foodservice 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."

From the August 16, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition