Eden Prairie-based SunOpta announced the retirement of CEO Joe Ennen and named Brian Kocher as his successor on Wednesday. Ennen has been SunOpta's CEO since April 2019.
SunOpta is a leading producer of plant-based milks for branded and private-label customers and also produces fruit snacks.
Ennen led a major transformation of the company, previously headquartered in Canada, as SunOpta moved away from its commodity business to focus on value-added food products. The company's new headquarters in Eden Prairie opened last year.
"I believe the company is well-positioned for its next phase of growth with a current portfolio that has demonstrated steady long-term increases in volume, revenue and adjusted [earnings]," Ennen said in a news release.
Kocher was previously CEO of Calavo Growers, a packer and distributor of avocados, and prior had led Castellini Group, a national produce distribution company. Kocher also served as the interim CEO of Chiquita.
Kocher becomes CEO effective Jan. 2. Ennen will serve as an adviser to Kocher and the board until April 1.
"Brian's deep food industry expertise, coupled with his shared values and commitment to furthering our purpose, make him the right leader to continue to drive growth and optimize our network," Ennen said.
Ennen had a base salary of $780,000 in 2022.
In November the company reported third-quarter revenue of $152.5 million, an increase of 5.9%. Ennen said that protein shakes, oat milk and snacks drove increases in sales.
In October SunOpta sold off the bulk of its frozen fruit business for $141 million to a Canadian firm.
The company is currently projecting sales of $670 million to $700 million for 2024.