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Impossible Foods' Pat Brown. Image credit: Impossible Foods

Moooving on up and out: Plant-based staff dismissals, JBS’s first ESG chief, Starbucks’ new CEO, more people moves

October 7, 2022

News moves fast in agrifoodtech, and high-profile job changes are no exception. To help keep everyone up to speed on the latest people moves in the world of food and ag, AFN now publishes a monthly column to compile all the significant moves we can find.

This past month has been all about meat, from Impossible founder Pat Brown’s new venture to a new sustainability boss for meat giant JBS. Elsewhere, the Starbucks executive overhaul continues and a longtime Unilever vet is calling it quits.

Are you in a new role or company? Know someone who has left? Drop me a line to share the details: [email protected]. 

Plant-based exec suspended for meat-headed move: Beyond Meat’s COO Doug Ramsey pulled a slightly cannibalistic move last month when he bit another man’s nose after a football game. The man allegedly hit the tire of Ramsey’s car in a parking structure. Ramsey responded by “punching through the Subaru’s back windshield, beating up the driver, and chomping on his nose,” according to publication Bon AppétitRamsey was arrested and Beyond issued a statement announcing his suspension. Ramsey’s LinkedIn page still lists him as Beyond Meat COO.

Beyond Meat cans C-suite supply chain role: Shortly after the Ramsey debacle, chief supply chain officer Bernie Adcock stepped down “to pursue another opportunity.” The company then eliminated his position entirely. Jonathan Nelson, Beyond’s SVP, manufacturing operations, will handle Adcock’s responsibilities. Nelson has a rather full plate these days since he’s also overseeing Ramsey’s COO duties too.

Meat giant JBS enlists first sustainability chief: JBS is one of the world’s largest producers of conventional animal meat. Jason Weller recently joined as the company’s first global chief sustainability officer. He’ll oversee ESG and sustainability strategies, including the JBS roadmap to reach net zero emissions by 2040. JBS added this role to its C-suite shortly before it shuttered its entire plant-based meat division in the US. (It continues to operate plant-based brands elsewhere.) Stay tuned.

Pat Brown ventures on: Impossible Foods’ founder and former CEO has ended his role as chief visionary officer to start a new research business within the plant-based meat company. The tentatively named Impossible Labs will exist alongside the company’s R&D division. The news was originally obtained from emails leaked to Business Insider.

Starbucks finally finds “the right leader”: Industry vet Laxman Narasimhan joined the coffee giant as incoming CEO on October 1. For the time being, he will work closely with interim CEO Howard Schultz before assuming the CEO role and joining the Board in April 2023. Narasimhan’s resume includes time as COO of PepsiCo. In a statement, Schultz called him “the right leader to take Starbucks into its next chapter.”

Unilever vet and CEO to retire: Alan Jope has spent more than 35 years with the consumer goods company. The last five have been as CEO. But a failed attempt at Unilever buying the consumer health arm of GlaxoSmithKline has tainted Jope’s reputation in the eyes of some. Others call his career at Unilever “a mixed bag” but “a very impressive career nonetheless.” Jope will retire at the end of 2023.

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