SECAUCUS, NJ. — Freshpet, Inc., announced several personnel changes to its board on May 17. The personnel changes are part of the fresh pet food company’s operational improvement plan.
Walter George, Freshpet’s current chair of the nominating, governance and sustainability committee on its board, has been appointed chair of the board. George’s appointment follows Freshpet’s 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, in which current Chair of the Board Charles Norris announced he will retire and not stand for reelection.
“I’m proud of the business Freshpet has become,” Norris said. “We have quickly transitioned from a market disruptor to an effective operator, innovator and category leader. I’m confident that the board is in the right hands with Walt as chair. Walt brings over 30 years of manufacturing and supply chain leadership experience, including senior positions in the pet food industry and expertise in scaling multiple high-growth consumer product companies.”
Prior to joining Freshpet in 2014, George held several leadership positions at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, supporting the pet food company as it grew from a small company to a multinational organization. He also served as corporate executive vice president of Ralcorp Holdings until its sale to Conagra Foods in 2013, and held several executive roles at the American Italian Pasta Company.
George currently serves on the board of OWS Foods and is a board member of the Morris Animal Foundation.
Alongside George’s promotion, David B. Biegger, former chief supply chain officer at Conagra, has been appointed to Freshpet’s board, serving on the audit committee. Biegger has more than 40 years of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry. Prior to joining Freshpet, he served Conagra from 2015 to retirement in 2021. He also served as head of global supply chain at Campbell Soup Company and spent more than 24 years at Procter & Gamble, serving the company’s manufacturing and operations divisions.
Biegger is currently an operating partner of private equity firm Shore Capital Partners and serves on the board of OWS Foods.
“I am thrilled to join Freshpet’s board,” Biegger said. “I have followed the company’s progress for years and believe that it is a true innovator in a rapidly growing industry. Consumers love Freshpet’s products and uncompromising quality, and as a result, the business has delivered outstanding growth for over a decade. Looking ahead, I see a significant opportunity to build on this momentum and continue to enhance growth and profitability to support the company’s success.”
The personnel updates seek to support Freshpet’s operational improvement, which will add more manufacturing and supply chain expertise to its capabilities, helping improve its quality, efficiency and profitability. The plan was originally launched in August 2022. In alignment with the plan, the manufacturer restructured its personnel team in September 2022, targeting its logistics, commodities, quality and other operational areas.
“As Freshpet builds upon the strong operational improvements we have made over the past year, ensuring that our board has the skills and expertise to oversee the strategy and execution of the business is paramount,” George said. “We are thrilled to welcome Dave, a seasoned supply chain and operations leader with deep domain knowledge and a clear understanding of the complexities of the CPG industry. His guidance and oversight will prove invaluable as we advance plans to deliver margin improvements and drive profitability to enhance shareholder value.
“We would also like to thank Charlie for his dedication to Freshpet and his leadership of the board since the initial founding,” he added. “During Charlie’s tenure, Freshpet began revolutionizing an industry with little innovation for 50 years. His guidance and insights have contributed significantly to Freshpet’s success and evolution, and he has helped position us to build on our momentum and capture many opportunities ahead.”
The latest personnel updates follow the company’s release of its first-quarter earnings for the three-month period ended March 31, in which Freshpet shared plans to further advance its operations.
Read more about personnel changes throughout the industry.