Dean Foods has promoted its COO Joseph Scalzo to the position of president and COO.

The soy products group said the appointment was effective immediately. 

In this role, Scalzo, 52, will oversee Dean Foods operational turnaround and near-term strategic initiatives, as well as its business units and key functions, including Fresh Dairy Direct, Morningstar, WhiteWave, Alpro, worldwide supply chain, and research and development.

"Since I named Joe chief operating officer late last year, I have been impressed by his quick and thorough analysis of the business and the depth and breadth of mission-critical initiatives that are underway," said Gregg Engles, chairman of the board and CEO. "In this short time frame, we have benefited greatly from his ability to build teams and establish a turnaround mindset."

He added: "Joe has focused on getting us organised around the fewer, bigger initiatives that can extend our low cost position in a meaningful way. With Joe's leadership, we are moving forward aggressively to advance our turnaround, and position Dean Foods for a strong future. This promotion is in recognition of what he has accomplished."

Scalzo said: "I am impressed by the professionalism and optimism of the Dean Foods organisation. The people of Dean Foods are willing to roll up their sleeves and commit whole-heartedly to the work at hand. I continue to be honoured to work with this group of talented people."