Del Monte Foods Company (NYSE: DLM), today announced that its President and Chief Executive Officer, Richard G. Wolford, 55, has been named Chairman of the Board of the Company. Mr. Wolford will continue to serve as President and CEO. He succeeds Richard W. Boyce who has served as Del Monte’s Board Chairman since 1997, and will remain on the board.
Del Monte Foods is the largest producer and distributor of premium quality, branded processed fruit, vegetable and tomato products in the United States. The Company’s net sales were over $1.5 billion in fiscal 1999.
Wolford became CEO and a director of Del Monte Foods in April 1997, after acquiring Del Monte in conjunction with the Texas Pacific Group, a private equity investment firm. In less than two years under Wolford’s leadership, Del Monte launched a successful IPO in February 1999. During Wolford’s tenure, the company has consistently grown its sales, net income and earnings. Wolford has engineered the successful launch of many new products, the most recent being the Company’s popular Fruit To-Go single serve fruits in a plastic cup.
“The appointment of Rick Wolford as Chairman reflects the board’s confidence in his abilities and recognition of his significant accomplishments,” said Boyce, who is a general partner with TPG. “Rick’s exceptional leadership and his strong team have reestablished Del Monte as one of the preeminent food companies in America.”
“This is truly an honor for me,” said Wolford. “I thank Richard Boyce for his dedication to Del Monte. I look forward to continuing to work with him and Del Monte’s outstanding employees as we further realize this company’s outstanding potential.”
Wolford’s career in the food industry began in 1967 at Dole Foods, where he ultimately became President of Dole Packaged Foods. Wolford left Dole in 1987 and joined with venture capitalists to invest in and develop businesses in the food industry. With these investors, he identified and evaluated acquisition opportunities and, as CEO of the acquired companies, instituted the strategy to maximize each company’s performance. In 1995 Wolford recognized Del Monte’s very high potential and began his acquisition strategy. In addition to his Del Monte duties, Wolford serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Lykes Bros., Inc. and the Grocery Manufacturers of America. Wolford graduated from Harvard University in 1966.
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Del Monte Foods Company, with net sales of over $1.5 billion in fiscal 1999, is the largest producer and distributor of premium quality, branded processed fruit, vegetable and tomato products in the United States. The Del Monte brand was introduced in 1892 and is one of the best known brands in the United States. Del Monte products are sold through national grocery chains, independent grocery stores, warehouse club stores, mass merchandisers, drug stores and convenience stores. The Company also sells its products to the U. S. military, certain export markets, the foodservice industry and food processors. The Company operates fourteen production facilities and six distribution centers in the U. S., has operations in Venezuela and owns Del Monte brand marketing rights in South America.