Royal Wessanen announced today (18 April) the appointment of Richard Lane to the post of president and CEO of its Tree of Life activities in North America.

Lane has 30 years of experience in food sales and distribution, having worked with Frito-Lay, PepsiCo Food Systems, Ameriserve and Supervalu in various leadership positions. Currently he is president of Supervalu’s eastern region where he leads a wholesale distribution organisation supplying US$2.7bn in refrigerated, frozen and ambient temperature products to 700 retail outlets.

Lane will succeed Alex Covington, who will take on the role of CEO at Nash Finch Company, a leading US food distribution company. Royal Wessanen said that Covington’s appointment to a Fortune 500 company reflected his success in turning Tree of Life from a lossmaking company to a competitive player in the US market.

Of Covington’s departure, Ad Veenhof, Wessanen CEO, said: “I knew that someone with Alec Covington’s competencies and experience would leave Wessanen at some point and that this could happen after having completed the turnaround at Tree of Life. The job that he has been offered is clearly related to his success in getting Tree of Life back on track, and I would like to congratulate him on this fantastic next step in his career.

“As a successor for Alec, we searched for a CEO with outstanding sales and marketing experience in food retail and distribution to help drive our top line growth. Therefore, I am very happy that Richard has agreed to join our organisation. He has an impressive record of managing growth. At Supervalu, he increased sales while implementing numerous distribution initiatives to lower operating costs. He is a driven and energetic leader that fits perfectly with the Tree of Life team in North America.”