DENVER — The WhiteWave Foods Co. on Nov. 16 unveiled a number of personnel changes, including the appointment of Blaine McPeak to the newly created position of chief operating officer. Mr. McPeak currently is president of Americas Foods & Beverages.

Blaine McPeak, Whitewave Foods
Blaine McPeak, new c.o.o. of Whitewave Foods

To further strengthen WhiteWave`s management structure, the company said Kevin Yost, president of Americas Fresh Foods, will be promoted to U.S. Group president of Americas Foods & Beverages, overseeing WhiteWave’s U.S. businesses, including Silk, So Delicious, Horizon, Wallaby Organic, Earthbound Farm and International Delight. Mr. Yost will report to Mr. McPeak.

Mr. McPeak has spent nearly 25 years in the food industry, nearly a decade of which has been in key leadership roles at WhiteWave. He most recently led the company’s Americas Foods & Beverages segment as president, which accounted for nearly 70% of WhiteWave’s sales as of Sept. 30.

In the new role of U.S. Group president of Americas Foods & Beverages, Mr. Yost will continue to drive strong organic growth, build additional capabilities in WhiteWave’s Americas organization, and strengthen collaboration among WhiteWave’s U.S. businesses. Prior to joining WhiteWave in January 2014, he led Dean Foods’ $1.8 billion Morningstar business and was instrumental in orchestrating its sale to Saputo, Inc., a global food and beverage company. After the sale Mr. Yost was appointed president and chief operating officer of Saputo’s Dairy Foods Division (USA).

“I am pleased that Blaine McPeak will assume an expanded leadership role as c.o.o.,” said Gregg Engles, chairman and chief executive officer. “In response to our growing organizational requirements, I am also pleased that Kevin Yost will assume leadership of a unified Americas Foods & Beverages business, where he will be in a position to drive continued growth and foster greater collaboration among all our Americas businesses. I will continue to lead WhiteWave as chairman and c.e.o. Having Blaine and Kevin in these new roles will allow me to focus my time on future growth strategies and other value-creating opportunities.”

WhiteWave also announced that Kelly Haecker, chief financial officer, has decided to leave the company effective March 31, 2016, to spend more personal time with his family. Over the course of the next four months Mr. Haecker will ensure a smooth transition of his responsibilities to Greg Christenson, who will be promoted to executive vice-president and c.f.o., effective April 1, 2016. Mr. Christenson has been senior vice-president and c.f.o., Americas Foods & Beverages, since June 2013. He has spent nearly 20 years in various financial roles at WhiteWave, Oberto Brands and Kraft.

“Words cannot adequately describe the respect and admiration I have for Kelly Haecker,” Mr. Engles said. “He has been a trusted adviser and steadfast business partner since our i.p.o. Kelly has had a tremendous positive impact on WhiteWave during the 10 years he has spent with us and he will be sorely missed. We are fortunate to have Greg step into this important role, with a transition period supported by Kelly. I am confident that Greg will continue to bring to the entire WhiteWave enterprise what he has delivered to our Americas Foods & Beverages segment, including a keen understanding of our industry and business, the leadership to successfully integrate new businesses and an ability to deliver strong financial results.”