DALLAS — Dean Foods Co. has unveiled a succession plan for its top leadership. As part of that plan, Ralph Scozzafava, executive vice-president and chief operating officer, will succeed Gregg A. Tanner as the company’s chief executive officer and as a member of the company’s board of directors, effective Jan. 1, 2017. In order to ensure a smooth transition, Mr. Tanner will remain as an adviser to Dean Foods through the company’s annual stockholders meeting in May 2017.

Ralph Scozzafava, Dean Foods
Ralph Scozzafava

“This announced transition is the culmination of our succession planning efforts, and the board is confident that Ralph — supported by Dean Foods’ experienced and dedicated management team — is the right leader for the company’s continued success and growth,” said Jim Turner, non-executive chairman of the board. “The board sincerely thanks Gregg for his many contributions to Dean Foods over the past decade. His outstanding leadership, especially following the divesture of Morningstar and the spin-off of WhiteWave, was instrumental in achieving a renewed focus and guiding the company through new business opportunities.”

Gregg Tanner, Dean Foods
Gregg Tanner

Mr. Scozzafava joined Dean Foods in October 2014 as executive vice-president and chief commercial officer. He was promoted to c.o.o. in October 2015. He has more than 30 years of experience in the consumer goods and grocery categories, including at Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and at Campbell Soup Co.

“Ralph is a passionate leader with a successful track record of growing businesses, driving efficiencies and building strong teams,” said Mr. Tanner, who has been c.e.o. since October 2012. “I am confident in Ralph’s and the team’s ability to advance the business and deliver substantial shareholder value. I look forward to supporting Ralph in his new role and working to ensure a seamless transition.”