For example, the current Chair of the Board, Charles Norris, announced his retirement and that he will not stand for reelection during Freshpet’s 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.
In his place, Walter George, Freshpet’s current chair of the nominating, governance, and sustainability committee, has been appointed board chair.
“I’m proud of the business Freshpet has become. We have quickly transitioned from a market disruptor to an effective operator, innovator, and category leader. I’m confident that the board is in the right hands with Walt as chair,” Norris said.
According to Norris, Walt brings over 30 years of manufacturing and supply chain leadership experience, including senior positions in the pet food industry and expertise in scaling multiple high-growth consumer product companies.
Before joining Freshpet in 2014, George held several leadership positions at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, nurturing the pet food company as it grew from a small company to a multinational organization.
He also served as corporate executive vice president of Ralcorp Holdings until its sale to Conagra Foods in 2013 and held several executive roles at the American Italian Pasta Company.
Additionally, George serves on the board of OWS Foods and is a board member of the Morris Animal Foundation.
Another notable promotion includes David B. Biegger, former chief supply chain officer at Conagra, appointed to Freshpet’s board, and serving on the audit committee.
The supply chain expert boasts over 40 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry.
Biegger served Conagra from 2015 to retirement in 2021 before joining Freshpet. He also served as head of the global supply chain at Campbell Soup Company and spent more than 24 years at Procter & Gamble’s manufacturing and operations divisions.
Biegger is currently an operating partner of private equity firm Shore Capital Partners and serves on the board of OWS Foods with Walter George.
“I am thrilled to join Freshpet’s board. I have followed the company’s progress for years and believe that it is a true innovator in a rapidly growing industry… I see a significant opportunity to build on this momentum and continue to enhance growth and profitability to support the company’s success,” Biegger said.
These personnel updates seek to support Freshpet’s operational improvement, adding more manufacturing and supply chain expertise to its capabilities, thus helping improve its quality, efficiency, and profitability.
The cited improvement plan was originally launched in August 2022. In alignment with the plan, the manufacturer restructured its personnel team in September 2022, targeting its logistics, commodities, quality, and other operational areas.
“As Freshpet builds upon the strong operational improvements we have made over the past year, ensuring that our board has the skills and expertise to oversee the strategy and execution of the business is paramount,” George said.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dave, a seasoned supply chain and operations leader with deep domain knowledge and a clear understanding of the complexities of the CPG industry. His guidance and oversight will prove invaluable as we advance plans to deliver margin improvements and drive profitability to enhance shareholder value,” George commented on Biegger’s appointment.
George also thanked Charlie for his leadership of Freshpet since the board’s formation.
“During Charlie’s tenure, Freshpet began revolutionizing an industry with little innovation for 50 years. He has helped position us to build on our momentum and capture many opportunities ahead,” George remarked.
The latest personnel updates follow the company’s release of its first-quarter earnings for the three-month period that ended March 31, during which net sales increased 26.7% to US$167.5 million.
During the release, Freshpet shared what it referred to as the ‘Fresh Future plan’, promising improved profitability and continued operational growth.