Executive changes "critical" to Smart Balance hitting growth targets, says CEO

Executive changes "critical" to Smart Balance hitting growth targets, says CEO

US health food firm Smart Balance has "streamlined" its senior management team with a series of moves, including the departure of its CFO.

Alan Gever, who joined Smart Balance four years ago, is leaving to "pursue other opportunities", the company said on Friday (6 January).

Chairman and CEO Stephen Hughes thanked Gever for his time at Smart Balance. "He successfully led the transformation of the finance and information technology functions from a private company to a fully-functioning public company and enhanced our financial flexibility considerably over his tenure."

Christine Sacco, vice president, controller and principal accounting officer, replaces Gever as CFO.

Meanwhile, Terry Schulke, Smart Balance's general manager for commercial operations becomes president and COO. Schulke joined Smart Balance in 2007 as chief customer officer.

Peter Dray, who has been with Smart Balance and its predecessor company GFA Brands for 24 years, moves from executive vice president of operations and product development to chief innovation officer. GFA Brands was acquired by Boulder Specialty Brands in 2007 and the combined company was named Smart Balance after one of GFA's brands.

Reflecting on the moves, Hughes said: "The broadening of responsibilities and streamlining of our senior leadership team is a critical step on the path toward fulfilling our ambition as a company and delivering our growth objectives."

In November, Smart Balance lifted its forecast for cash operating income for 2011 on the back of its third-quarter results. Cash or underlying operating income almost doubled to US$6.6m in the three months to the end of September after sales were buoyed by the August acquisition of gluten-free firm Glutino Food Group.