AC Foods Companies Restructure for Rapid Growth; Taps New Chiefs
DINUBA, CA - Agriculture Capital (AC) recently announced a restructuring of its organization and the addition of new leadership to prepare for rapid growth and continued operational excellence. Under the new structure, AC Foods companies previously led by AC Operations will be divided into AC Brands, AC Farming, and AC Nursery and Genetics, each headed by a CEO with extensive industry experience.
“The AC model of regenerative agriculture and food production was immediately enticing to me and is well-aligned with my personal values,” shared Craig Hope, newly appointed CEO of AC Brands. “I am thrilled to add my skills to this team; help grow our brands across the portfolio; and partner with our valued growers, customers, and employees to create access to food that is better and healthier for their families.”
Led by Hope, AC Brands will lead all five of AC Foods U.S. fresh fruit packing and cold storage businesses, including Suntreat/Legacy Packing and Cold Storage, Cal Valley Citrus, Columbine Vineyards, and Silver Mountain Packing. AC Brands will also manage Sales and Marketing for AC’s citrus and table grape portfolios, including Suntreat®, Sumo Citrus®, I’m Pink®, Columbine Vineyards®, Holiday®, and Milano® brands.
Hope brings over 30 years of experience in general management, sales, and marketing with Kraft Foods/Nabisco, E&J Gallo, Earthbound Farm/WhiteWave Food Company, Country Fresh Holdings (Fresh Food Group), and most recently Diamond Foods.
“Craig’s experience in building teams, leading high-growth businesses, and product innovation make him an ideal fit for the AC Brands team as it pursues strong growth and expansion of our citrus, table grape, and blueberry businesses,” said Tom Avinelis, Co-Managing Director of Agriculture Capital. “He understands what it takes to drive high-performance teams to great business results, and we’re grateful to have him join us to lead our next phase of growth.”
In addition, AC Brands has added Jason Allen as CFO. Jason brings over 20 years of industry leadership at world-class organizations like Olam Americas, Newell Brands, and The Hershey Company. Allen will focus on building out AC Brand’s finance and accounting team, system, and processes to ensure customer service, and accounting supports both customers and growers with timely, transparent information as the company grows.
“We are thrilled to be adding experienced leaders like Craig Hope and Jason Allen and to be moving to a structure that positions our teams to focus on what they do best,” said Rob Hurlbut, Co-Managing Director, Agriculture Capital. “As we plan for investment in future expansion to build out our regenerative, vertically-integrated food businesses, the AC Brands, AC Farming, and AC Nursery & Genetics management teams are ready to scale to meet the dynamic needs of customers, growers, and retail partners.”
According to the press release, AC Farming will be led by Darren Filkins, CEO. With nearly 10,000 acres of citrus, table grape, blueberry, and tree nut farms in California under management, Filkins and his team will be focused on growing the best quality fruits and nuts to delight customers and consumers. With over 15 years in the industry, Filkins’ extensive experience will allow him to apply best practices for efficiency and innovation as AC looks to continue to expand its regenerative farming scale in the Western U.S.
Roger Smith has been promoted to CEO of AC Nursery and Genetics. Including both TreeSource nursery and Columbine Vineyards nursery and genetics programs, Smith will lead the nursery and genetics programs across AC’s citrus and table grape portfolios. With over 30 years of experience, an innovative mindset, and strong business acumen, Smith’s leadership will help support the long-term growth of the AC portfolio with the best possible genetics and plants.
Congratulations to all on their new roles!