The WhiteWave Foods Company announced that Blaine McPeak, President of Americas Foods & Beverages, will be promoted to the newly created position of chief operating officer and will assume responsibility for all global operations of the company. McPeak will continue to report to Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer Gregg Engles. To further strengthen WhiteWave's management structure, Kevin Yost, President of Americas Fresh Foods, will be promoted to U.S. Group President of Americas Foods & Beverages, overseeing WhiteWave's U.S. businesses including Silk, So Delicious, Horizon, Wallaby Organic, Earthbound Farm and International Delight. Yost will report to McPeak. The international operations of Americas Foods & Beverages will continue to be managed by McPeak.
"Congratulations to Blaine, Kevin and Greg on their well-deserved promotions to expanded leadership roles at WhiteWave. We are fortunate as a company to have such an extraordinary group of leaders, as well as strong talent throughout our entire organization. Since WhiteWave became a public company in 2012, we have experienced tremendous growth, bringing significant value to our shareholders, employees, customers and other stakeholders. As we continue to grow our core businesses, acquire new brands and expand geographically, we need to ensure we have the robust organizational capabilities required to manage our current and future growth initiatives," said Gregg Engles, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "I am pleased that Blaine McPeak will assume an expanded leadership role as COO. In response to our growing organizational requirements, I am also pleased that Kevin Yost will assume leadership of a unified Americas Foods & Beverages business, where he will be in a position to drive continued growth and foster greater collaboration among all our Americas businesses. I will continue to lead WhiteWave as Chairman and CEO. Having Blaine and Kevin in these new roles will allow me to focus my time on future growth strategies and other value-creating opportunities."
WhiteWave also announced that Chief Financial Officer Kelly Haecker has decided to leave the company effective March 31, 2016, to spend more personal time with his family. Over the course of the next four months Haecker will ensure a smooth transition of his responsibilities to Greg Christenson, who will be promoted to Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer of WhiteWave, effective April 1, 2016, reporting to Engles. Christenson, 48, has served as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Americas Foods & Beverages since June 2013. In that role, he has strengthened the capabilities of the finance, accounting and IT functions within this $2.5 billion segment and supported strategic growth initiatives, including integrating acquired businesses and partnering with business leaders to deliver strong results. Christenson has spent nearly 20 years in various financial roles at WhiteWave, Oberto Brands and Kraft.
"Words cannot adequately describe the respect and admiration I have for Kelly Haecker. He has been a trusted advisor and steadfast business partner since our IPO. Kelly has had a tremendous positive impact on WhiteWave during the ten years he has spent with us and he will be sorely missed," said Engles. "We are fortunate to have Greg step into this important role, with a transition period supported by Kelly. I am confident that Greg will continue to bring to the entire WhiteWave enterprise what he has delivered to our Americas Foods & Beverages segment, including a keen understanding of our industry and business, the leadership to successfully integrate new businesses and an ability to deliver strong financial results."