News moves fast in agrifoodtech, and high-profile job changes are no exception. To help keep everyone up to speed on who’s moving where in the world of food and ag, AFN is starting a new monthly column to compile all the significant moves we can find.
This past month, two Boston startups welcomed new executives and a Netherlands-based food retailer got its first-ever chief sustainability officer. Coffee giant Starbucks eradicated one of its executive roles for the foreseeable future.
Are you in a new role or company? Know someone who has left? Drop me a line to share the details: [email protected].
C-suite moves at Indigo Ag: Two members of the C-suite at Boston-based Indigo Ag have left in as many months. The company’s chief commercial officer and chief operating officer before that, Karsten Neuffer, has left the company to be global CEO of RiceTec, Neuffer said in a LinkedIn post. It’s unclear if his role has been filled. Also, Jennifer Betka, chief marketing officer for three years, has left to explore new opportunities. She has been replaced by Victoria Godfrey, a former CMO of Zipcar and SVP at DentaQuest. The company also brought on a new CFO in March.
Motif FoodWorks’ CEO swap: Jonathan McIntyre has stepped down as CEO of Motif Foodworks to assume an advisory role. (Incidentally, McIntyre worked at Indigo Ag before joining Boston-based, Ginkgo Bioworks spin-off Motif.) To replace him, Michael Leonard leapt from CTO to CEO and will lead the charge on what he calls “this new phase” for the company that was recently embroiled in a lawsuit with Impossible Foods regarding its use of meaty tasting ingredient heme.
An ‘invaluable’ new finance hire for GoPuff: Ted Stedem is the new CFO for the quick-commerce startup after years spent as QSR Panera’s finance chief. Stedem joins GoPuff just after the company laid off 10% of its workforce and closed 76 warehouses. The entire quick-commerce sector is struggling right now as startups attempt to reach profitability in the midst of a downturn. In a statement, GoPuff said Stedem will be ““will be invaluable as we enter Gopuff’s next phase.”
Visionary hire for Verdant Robotics: Georgia Tech faculty member Dr. Frank Dellaert, whose past work includes Skydio, Facebook (now Meta) Reality Labs, and Google AI, has joined Verdant as CTO to expand its computer vision and robotics applications. “As we continue to push the boundaries of discovery, it became clear that Frank’s know-how and expertise expands our technical breadth,” Verdant CEO Dr. Gabe Sibley said in a statement. [Disclosure: AFN’s parent company, AgFunder, is an investor in Verdant Robotics.]
No more COO for Starbucks: One role that won’t be getting a refill after its current executive departs is the COO title at Starbucks. John Culver will leave the role on October 3 and Starbucks will dissolve the COO position thereafter. The decision has been in the works for months, according to a letter from Culver, and is part of a larger overhaul of Starbucks’ executive team that’s been taking place over the last few months.
McDonald’s snags new impact hire: Finally, fellow QSR McDonald’s recently snagged John Banner from PepsiCo and appointed him executive vice president and global chief impact officer.
Here’s where AI could make the biggest impact in the agrifoodtech sector