US-based Ruiz Foods, the owner of the El Monterey Mexican food brand, has promoted COO Kimberli Carroll to president and CEO.
Current chief executive Dan Antonelli will step down from his position and take up the role of executive board chair.
All moves are effective from 21 January.
Carroll was promoted to chief operating officer in September 2023. She has spent almost 23 years with Ruiz Foods in different roles, starting in 2001.
She previously served as executive vice president, general manager, and chief commercial officer for the company’s foodservice and retail businesses.
She was also a “member of the team that developed and deployed the most successful new product in the company’s history”, according to the El Monterey-owner’s statement.
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“I am humbled and honoured to lead one of the finest family-owned companies in America,” said Carroll.
Carroll added that outgoing CEO Dan Antonelli “has been instrumental in leading the transformation” the business started in 2021 to “become a top-performing company”, and she intends to “continue [his] legacy”.
According to the food manufacturer’s statement, the changes in the executive leadership and board are “designed to position the company for its next great growth period”.
Kim Ruiz Beck, co-owner and current board chair of the food producer, said: “As the Ruiz Foods board of directors considered the direction for our next CEO, the best candidate was right here on our leadership team.
“(…)Kim [Carroll] possesses both the leadership skills essential to continue to move the company forward and the deep relationships and commitment to our people and culture that are the foundation of what we do each day.
“This combination makes her uniquely qualified to lead Ruiz Foods as we boldly work to become the nation’s best frozen-food company in the eyes of our team members, suppliers, customers and consumers.”
Kim Ruiz Beck remains on the board as an owner-director.
Texas, US-headquartered Ruiz Foods’ portfolio is focused on frozen foods selling to “all channels of distribution: retail, convenience stores, clubs, vending, industrial, and food service”. It also owns the snack brand Tornados.
The company employs more than 4,000 workers and has five manufacturing facilities located in California, Texas and South Carolina.
In 2022, the food maker acquired the contract manufacturer Culinary International.