The head of Dean Foods’ fresh-dairy business is to leave the US dairy giant, which has rejigged its management team.

Harrald Kroeker, president of Dean Foods’ Fresh Dairy Direct business is to depart at the end of next month “to pursue other opportunities”, the company said today (8 October).

Chris Sliva, president of Dean Foods’ Morningstar unit, has become the group’s chief commercial officer and “direct the commercial strategy of both the FDD and Morningstar divisions’ sales and lines of business”, the company explained.

Sliva reports into Dean Foods president and COO Joe Scalzo, who said Kroeker improved “the efficiency and effectiveness” of Fresh Dairy Direct. “He was instrumental in positioning the company to take advantage of its scale, brands, and local knowledge,” Scalzo said.

Scalzo, who was became COO a year ago and took on the title of company president in August, said he had “every confidence” that Sliva would “enhance [Dean Foods’] selling effectiveness and drive revenue growth”.

“Chris Sliva’s strong commercial background, exceptional leadership credentials and customer relationships make him the ideal choice for this role,” Scalzo said.

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The company’s statement on Kroeker’s departure and Sliva’s move to a new role did not state that the business would appoint executives to fill the positions of president of Fresh Dairy Direct and president of the Morningstar business. When contacted by just-food, a spokesperson declined to comment further.

In August, Dean Foods said operating income from its combined Fresh Dairy Direct-Morningstar division had fallen 28% year-on-year. The company’s brands have faced fierce competition from own-label suppliers in the milk category and, reporting its second-quarter results, the group said retail pricing for private-label milk remained “well below historical levels”.