July 10/Plymouth, Wis./Press Release -- Sargento Foods Inc. announced the promotion of Kristi Jankowski to executive vice president of Innovation and Karri Neils to executive vice president of Human Resources.

In her new position, Jankowski will continue to lead the conception and implementation of innovation strategies and initiatives for Sargento Corporate, Consumer Products Division, Food Service Division and Food Ingredients Division, reporting to Lou Gentine, chairman and chief executive officer at Sargento.

“Kristi’s contributions to our leadership team have resulted in the development of Natural Blends, Ultra Thin, and numerous other product innovations,” said Gentine. “We are confident Kristi’s knowledge and exceptional leadership will continue to fuel our tradition of innovation and serve as a vital asset to the Sargento family.”

Jankowski joined Sargento in 1999. In her previous role as senior vice president of Innovation, she elevated innovation within Sargento Foods by strengthening collaboration between technical leadership and new product development marketing leadership.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in food science and a master’s degree in food chemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

As executive vice president of Human Resources, Neils will maintain responsibility for managing employment, organization development, employee safety, training, benefits and education needs, reporting to Gentine.

“At Sargento, we pride ourselves on company culture and applaud Karri for her significant role in its advancement over the past 12 years,” said Gentine. “Her leadership during periods of recent growth has been instrumental to our development, and we congratulate Karri on her promotion.”

In her more than 23 years with Sargento, Neils gained management experience through a variety of functions beyond human resources, including marketing, SAP implementation and manufacturing. Prior to joining Sargento, she served as a sales manager and personnel representative for Kelly Services, a staffing agency, in Sheboygan, Wis.

Neils earned her bachelor’s degree in general management from the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater and her master’s degree in business administration from Concordia University of Wisconsin in Mequon. She is also certified through the Society of Human Resource Management as a professional in human resources.