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August 15, 2019

Ex-Danone exec named BrightFarms CEO

US produce supplier BrightFarms has named a former Danone and Icelandic Provisions executive as its new CEO.

By Dean Best

US produce supplier BrightFarms has named a former Danone executive as its new CEO.

Steve Platt, who spent more than a decade at Danone, will replace Paul Lightfoot, BrightFarms’ founder, who will stay on as president.

Platt’s most recent role was CEO of US-based yogurt maker Icelandic Provisions, which he headed between July 2016 and February 2019. He worked in various roles in the US for Danone from 2005 to 2016, most latterly as vice president of marketing for brands including Dannon, Oikos and YoCrunch.

Lightfoot said: “Steve is a world-class CPG executive with an authentic passion for our mission and our products, and possesses the talent, experience and know-how to take the company to the next level.”

BrightFarms, based in New York state, grows its produce in hydroponic greenhouse farms.

In February, April, the company set out plans to build three more farms, one in New York state, another in New England and a third in North Carolina. Two months later, BrightFarms announced it would set up another such farm in Pennsylvania.

The business counts retailers including Walmart among its customers.

Platt said: “I am privileged to be the next CEO of BrightFarms. This is an exciting time for the company and I look forward to working with Paul and the entire team to scale the company and deliver our salad greens to more retailers and consumers across the country. BrightFarms is how Americans will consume produce – fresh, local and pesticide free.”

BrightFarms also appointed a new CFO earlier this year, hiring former Rural Media Group finance chief Steve Campione.

In June last year, BrightFarms announced a round of financing that raised $55m. The company said it would use the Series D financing to fund expansion.

Catalyst Investors, which was already an investor in BrightFarms, took part in the financing. Brian Rich, managing partner at the investment firm, said: “With consumer trends pointing towards superior quality, differentiated, locally- grown produce, Steve is well-positioned to lead BrightFarms through its next period of rapid growth.”

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