Advantage Sales & Marketing LLC (ASM) today announced the appointment to its board of directors, Richard G. Wolford, the former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Del Monte Foods, effective as of Sept. 9, 2011. Wolford retired from Del Monte earlier this year after leading the company from a public to private ownership structure.
“Rick represents an extraordinary addition to our board given the breadth and depth of his experience within the food and consumer packaged goods industry,” said Chairman and CEO Sonny King. “His experience and leadership will provide significant value to ASM's stakeholders.”
Wolford started in the food industry at Dole Foods. He has lived and worked in Central America and the Philippines, where he directed Dole's operations. Later he was responsible for Dole's worldwide packaged operations in Thailand, the Philippines, Hawaii, Korea and the U.S. mainland. In 1982, Wolford was named president of Dole Packaged Foods, a position he held for five years.
In 1987, Wolford joined with private equity investors to invest in and develop businesses in the food industry. In 1996, having identified Del Monte Foods as a high potential acquisition opportunity, he worked with a private equity firm, to acquire the company. On completion of the acquisition, he was named chief executive officer in April 1997. He successfully took Del Monte public in a 1999 IPO and was elected chairman of the board in May 2000.
Under Wolford's leadership, Del Monte successfully acquired several Heinz food businesses including their pet business in a Reverse Morris trust transaction. Through a series of acquisitions and divestitures, Wolford realigned Del Monte's portfolio and grew the pet business with a resulting portfolio that combined the high growth pet business with the company's more mature fruit and vegetable business. Wolford led Del Monte from a $1 billion consumer foods business into a branded pet and consumer products company with close to $4 billion in revenues. During his tenure, Del Monte's portfolio was transformed by building and acquiring strong and growing brand equities. The company's growth included enhancing its margin structure and building a talented team.
Wolford has served as a member of the board of directors of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and in January 2010, was elected its chairman of the board. Since April 2011, he has been member of the board of directors of Diamond Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: DMND). He also served as a member of the board of directors of the Consumer Goods Forum and now serves as a member of the board of directors for Schiff Nutrition International since September 2011. Wolford is the recipient of the 2011 GMA Hall of Achievement award honoring extraordinary leadership and commitment to the consumer packaged goods industry and the 2011 Food Marketing Institute (FMI) William H. Albers Award recognizing excellence in trading partner relations and consumer and community service. Wolford graduated from Harvard University with a degree in economics.