Annie’s Names New President
Organic food brand Annie’s named Carla Vernon as president of the company owned by General Mills. Vernon has been with General Mills for nearly 20 years, most recently as VP of natural and organic growth acceleration. She will relocate from the General Mills’ corporate offices in the Twin Cities to Berkeley, Calif., where Annie’s is headquartered.
She succeeds John Foraker, who has led Annie’s for the last 17 years, first as CEO and then as president after the acquisition three years ago.
Foraker announced his departure in a blog post, citing that he is an “entrepreneur at heart” and is looking for his next challenge although he will remain a part of General Mills’ leadership team. When food giant General Mills purchased Annie’s for $820, Foraker agreed to stay on to lead the company through the transition for one year, which turned into three years. At the time, the acquisition was heavily criticized within the organic industry.
“I knew that I’d never willingly leave until I felt that the business and culture of Annie’s were strong enough post-acquisition that they could self-sustain for the long-term inside General Mills,” Foraker said in the blog post. “The track record of big [consumer packaged goods companies] in this area has been spotty, yet the Annie’s acquisition has been wildly successful.” He cited the brand nearly doubled its business and nearly doubled the percentage of business that is certified organic while expanding to 20 million households.