Notable Executive Changes

Significant executive moves occurred throughout May, as can be seen in the Top Industry Executive Appointments table below. Many of these changes involved executives leaving positions at prominent companies for other major players in the food space.

The following are examples of these recent moves made in foodservice, CPG, and distribution companies.


Panera Bread Co. hired Eduardo Luz as its chief brand and concept officer, reported St. Louis Business Journal (May 28). Luz was most recently the CEO of 8Greens, a New Yorkbased health supplement brand he joined in 2019. Previously, he was a global brand officer and CMO in the U.S. for Kraft Heinz.

He joined Heinz in 2013 as managing director for consumer products. Following the company’s merger with Kraft in 2015, he served as president of Kraft Heinz’s grocery business, later taking on the CMO role in Oct. 2018.

His work on overseeing the removal of artificial flavors and dyes from some of Kraft Heinz’s products will come in handy at Panera, which prides itself in its “clean” recipes that exclude artificial flavoring and coloring.

Luz also held executive posts with Unilever, AnheuserBusch InBev, and Accenture.

At Panera, Luzwill report to directly to CEO Niren Chaudhary and oversee Panera’s marketing, digital, strategy/insights, and culinary teams.

“I have been a long-time admirer of the Panera brand—it’s a huge positive force for the food industry, from its mission to its leadership in clean food and commitment to making great food accessible to all,” Luz said.

Panera achieved about $5.9 billion in sales in 2019, according to a Technomic estimate. As of March 31, there were 2,174 bakery-cafes in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread or St. Louis Bread Co. names, according to the company.


Clif Bar recently named Sally Grimes CEO.

Grimes made the transition after serving as group president at Tyson Foods where she was responsible for the $10 billion Prepared Foods business, spearheading the development of some of the company’s most successful and innovative initiatives.

Prior to joining Tyson Foods, Grimes held senior leadership positions at Kraft Foods, Newell Rubbermaid, and The Hillshire Brands Co. She received various industry honors, such as being named in Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women to Watch” and Fast CompanyFast Company’s “Top 100 Most Creative People in Business.”

“Sally’s passion for what makes Clif unique will benefit our company culture and her track record for innovative thinking will help take us to the next level,” said previous co-CEO Gary Erickson.

Erickson and previous co-CEO Kit Crawford will remain on the company’s Board of Directors.

“I am honored to join this extraordinary company at a time when people are looking to brands to lead by example, something Clif Bar has been doing for nearly 30 years,” said Grimes. “Clif is in a unique position to not only innovate, but also drive meaningful change in our food system. Their focus on the long game is inspiring and offers endless potential.”


Sysco appointed Marie Robinson as EVP and chief supply chain officer.

As Sysco’s senior supply chain leader, she will be responsible for leading the company’s supply chain transformation aimed at accelerating profitable growth through more tailored supply chain solutions.

Prior to joining Sysco, Robinson was SVP, chief operations and transformation officer for Capri Holding Limited.

Before Capri, she served as SVP, corporate strategy and COO for Michael Kors Holdings Limited. Prior experience also includes roles at Toys”R”Us, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co., Smart & Final Stores, LLC, and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

“[Robinson’s] previous success in driving change through partnerships gives me great confidence that she will help us successfully drive transformative efforts at Sysco,” said Kevin Hourican, who was appointed to president and CEO in January.

In Sysco’s third quarter ending March 28, sales were $9.6 billion for its U.S. foodservice operation, a decrease of 5.1% compared to the same period in 2019. Trends in April have shown sequential weekly improvement that reflects further momentum and upward trajectory.