People Moves: Jimenez Departs Whole Foods; Martines Joins Concentric

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Many industry leaders are adding new titles and companies to their resumes after a stint of hiring sprees the past few months. Here’s the lowdown on these execs’ new gigs and what they are doing there.

Matt Jimenez Departs Whole Foods Market

Today in a letter to suppliers, Matt Jimenez, global senior category manager for grocery at Whole Foods Market, announced his departure. Jimenez’s last day will be tomorrow, and he said he will take a few weeks off before “launching his next venture.”

Previously Jimenez was the National Sales Manager at Hain Celestial and National Sales Manager at PROBAR. In total, Jimenez spent over eight years at the natural retailer.

In his email, Jimenez wrote “I truly believe that the advancement of organic food, as well as outstanding innovations in food & wellness, will come from the efforts of all of you. During my time here, I have seen fantastic ideas brought to market which have gone on to change the landscape of our entire industry. Thank you for all that you do and your influence in evolving our collective food culture.”

Mathis Martines Joins Branding Firm Concentric

Mathis Martines, who helped Kroger expand its grocery set with innovative and healthy products, has joined brand development firm Concentric as VP of Brand and Strategy, the company announced last week.

“Mathis’s experience and retail perspective align perfectly with our core services,” Concentric president Bob Shaw said. “His work in brand innovation, especially in the area of [better-for-you] and natural products, will continue to build Concentric’s strength and will have immediate value to our clients.”

Martines joined Concentric in June after leaving Kroger, where he had worked since March 2013. Prior to Kroger, he served as the Grocery Marketing Coordinator for The Fresh Market.

Chris Running Leaves Caveman Foods

CEO and founder Chris Running is leaving Caveman Foods six years after starting his paleocentric company.Running announced his departure in an email to staff and others last week. Caveman board member Pat O’Dea, the former CEO of Peet’s Coffee, will step into the role.

“After many months of rumination and soul searching, I’ve decided to step down as CEO of Caveman Foods. Not an easy decision by any means, but after six years of 24/7 intense focus on top of six previous start-ups, multiple acquisitions and turnarounds, it’s time for a break,” Running wrote. “I’m very proud of many of the things we’ve been able to accomplish, but it’s time for a change.”

Running added that he will remain on the board and stay as active in the company as necessary “until [the team gets] Caveman Foods to the finish line.”

Coyo Expands Team With Director of Sales & Chief Growth Officer

The dairy-alternative yogurt brand Coyo is adding two more members to its team as part of its plans to scale distribution. Aaron Wallace was named National Sales Jedi and Jerry Schwartz was named Chief Growth Officer, the company announced in a statement last week.

“We are all thrilled to bring Aaron and Jerry on board to leverage their vast experience in the natural foods world and continue growing the Coyo brand with their help,” Chuck Waghorne, managing director, said in a statement. “Our expanding team will allow us to best serve our customers and get Coyo into the hands of existing fans and new converts all over the country.”

Wallace formerly worked at Trader’s Point Creamery as National Director of Sales and Logistics. While there, he helped lead development and implementation of national sales initiatives. His resume also includes past roles at Topline Distributing, Whole Foods Market and Costco. Schwartz managed his own brand management and consulting business for more than 30 years prior to joining the Coyo team.

ASI Tea-Maker Names Scott Silverman President and COO

Yaupon Wellness Company Inc. (YWCI), the maker of Asi Tea, named Scott Silverman as its President and COO, according to an announcement made last week. Silverman has more than 25 years of experience in the industry. Prior to this new role, he worked for KeHE, most recently serving as VP of Retail Growth Solutions and Proprietary Brands for the distributor.

“Scott has passion and vision for taking us to the next level,” Mike Ventling, investor and CFO, said in a statement. “I look forward to working with him as well as Lou and the YWCI team to make it happen.”

The company said it hopes to use Silverman’s insight and strategic natural products industry experience to develop new yaupon-based wellness products. YWCI produces and sells bottled tea, tea bags and loose tea from the Yaupon plant.

“As we transition from our development phase to the commercialization and growth phase of Yaupon Wellness Company, we are thrilled and privileged to have someone with the kind of diverse experiences in the natural products sector that Scott brings,” YWCI Founder Lou Thomann said in a statement.

Hail Merry Hires Its First Financial Executive

Plant-based dessert company Hail Merry has hired the company’s first executive finance position in its nine-year history.

Eric Brown will be joining the team as CFO, the company announced late last month. His hiring is not the only change the company has seen in recent months. Hail Merry also underwent a complete rebrand and recently hired a new CEO, Andy Malloy after its previous CEO, Sarah Chapin, departed the company.

“We finally have the perfect entry-level product, killer branding, and a fine-tuned distribution plan in place. Eric’s expertise in finance is the final piece to the puzzle. We can literally feel the momentum towards widespread consumer adoption and household penetration,” Malloy said in a statement.

Brown has more than 25 years in food and hospitality, most recently acting as Vice President of Finance for Aramark Healthcare Technologies. Previous employers also include Frito Lay, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and the Campbell Soup Company.

Susan O’Brien, founder and VP of marketing, added that she hopes Brown’s financial leadership will help to expand the company’s distribution efforts and “bring Hail Merry to the masses.”

Other notable moves:

  • Peeled Snacks welcomed Jon Kalina as its new CEO on June 25. Kalina previously served as vice president of sales for Blue Marble Brands, and before that, with companies including Seasons’ Enterprises, Kettle Foods and BIN Sales & Marketing.
  • Jill Costelow joined Osso Good’s board of directors last month. The industry veteran was most recently the VP of Operations at Pressed Juicery, and, prior to that, she served as the Director of Beverage Operations at POM Wonderful.
  • After leadership changes at Purity Organic, the company’s former VP of Operations, Andrew Guard, was appointed VP of Operations at chickpea-based snack company Biena Foods. Guard was named VP of Operations at of the chickpea-based snack company last month.
  • Following the close of a round of investment, Wild Friends added to its executive team last month with James Moss as VP of sales. Prior, Moss worked at Hail Merry and NextFoods.
  • Impossible Foods hired genomics pioneer and informatics expert David Lipman as its Chief Science Officer last month. The former National Center for Biotechnology Information Director is best known for his work in creating maintaining comprehensive suites of publicly accessible databases, like GenBank and PubMed, for doctors, patients and the medical industry.
  • Mochi Ice Cream maker My/Mo added Michele Kessler to its board of directors last month. Kessler is the current president and CEO of thinkThin and previously served as VP of Global Chocolate Strategy and VP of Chocolate U.S. at Mars.