September 6/Plymouth, Wis./Press Release -- Louie Gentine has announced the promotion of Michael Pellegrino to chief customer officer & president - Consumer Products Division.

As CCO & president - Consumer Products Division (CPD), Pellegrino will continue to lead the retail cheese business with strong support from his team, which will now include the presidents of the Food Service Division and Food Ingredients Division. He will continue to report to Gentine.

“Under Michael’s leadership as President of CPD the past four years, there has been significant top and bottom line growth in the division,” said Gentine. “His thought leadership and impactful customer insights have contributed to the company’s success in the retail cheese category, and we are pleased to honor Michael with a promotion to this new dual role. We are confident he will continue to drive our business forward.”

The promotion follows the announcement that Gentine, chairman and CEO of Sargento Foods Inc., will retire as chief executive officer at the end of the year, though will remain active as chairman. The board of directors approved the promotion of Gentine from president & CCO to succeed his father as CEO. 

Appointed president - Consumer Products Division in 2009, Pellegrino led efforts to accelerate the growth of the Sargento brand. Prior to joining Sargento, he spent 20 years with Kraft Foods Inc., in Northfield, Ill. During his tenure there, he held a variety of marketing strategy and general management roles across the Kraft Foods portfolio.

He received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse.

Sargento Foods Inc. also announced the promotion of Ebru Basaran-Shull to director of Regulatory Affairs in the Quality Systems department. In this new role, Basaran-Shull will be responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership and expertise in legislation, regulatory compliance and food science in support of Sargento business objectives and strategies. She will report to Janet Raddatz, vice president of Quality and Food Safety Systems.

“Ebru’s expertise and enthusiasm will greatly contribute to the expansion of services provided by the regulatory group,” said Gentine. “We are confident Ebru will continue to serve as a vital asset to the Sargento family and contribute to the company’s future growth.”

She transitions into this position from her previous role as R&D technical services manager where she identified and closed gaps in technology, food safety and quality at the R&D Technical Center. Prior to joining Sargento, she gained 17 years of food-industry leadership experience in quality, research and development and regulatory compliance in both the U.S. and Turkey.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in food engineering from the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, Turkey and will begin her master’s degree of jurisprudence in global food law this fall through Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.