Ardo Group has named food-industry veteran Gabrielle Kalkwijk as the new chief executive to replace Rik Jacob, who retired from the European frozen produce firm during the summer.

Belgium-based Ardo, which supplies vegetables, fruit and herbs to retailers and foodservice channels, said Kalkwijk will assume the CEO role on 1 October. The Dutch national is presently president of global manufacturing at US baked goods and desserts maker Dawn Foods. She also spent 20 years at dairy giant FrieslandCampina of the Netherlands.

Ardo chairman Philippe Haspeslagh said: “After a careful selection process by the board of directors and the shareholders, we are pleased that Mrs Kalkwijk is taking on the exciting challenge of leading Ardo. In addition to the wealth of international experience that Mrs Kalkwijk has gained in the food industry, we were particularly impressed by her leadership qualities in both developing people and creating results.” 

Kalkwijk will be joining a firm with a turnover of EUR1.1bn (US$1.2bn) and 21 production and packaging facilities spread across nine countries. Ardo also exports to more than 100 destinations.

The incoming CEO added: “I love the products and the vision of the company that clearly values quality and sustainability. There is a huge future for those who, like Ardo, are innovative in the plant-based food industry and efficient in creating products. To that end, I see the development of the organisation and its people as my most important task.”