Hawthorne resigns as Ocean Spray CEO – Robert Hawthorne resings from Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc

Hawthorne resigns as Ocean Spray CEO – Robert Hawthorne resings from Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc – Brief Article

Robert Hawthorne resigned in late October after 3 years as CEO of Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. Barbara S. Thomas, a board member and former president of Warner Lambert’s consumer healthcare division, is acting as interim CEO while a search is launched for a new CEO.

“The Board will use this opportunity to search out a fresh skill set to take the Ocean Spray cooperative to the next level,” said Benjamin A. Gilmore II, Ocean Spray board chairman.

Gilmore noted that Hawthorne’s nearly 3 years at Ocean Spray saw the co-op’s balance sheet and customer service improve. Since Hawthorne’s arrival in 2000, Ocean Spray’s net earnings increased from $59 million to $158 million in 2002. He also oversaw the most successful product introduction in the juice category in the past 10 years: Ocean Spray White Cranberry juice drinks.

Thomas’ career spans more than 25 years in the consumer goods industry, including the 3 years at Warner Lambert, where she headed the company’s $1.7 billion over-the-counter pharmaceutical business. She held previous top leadership positions at Procter & Gamble, Nabisco, and Pillsbury. She currently sits on the Board of the Dial Corporation and Rayovac, as well as Ocean Spray.

Ocean Spray is the No. 1 brand of canned and bottled juice drinks in the United States, with fiscal 2002 net sales of $1.06 billion. Formed in 1930, the cooperative is made up of 804 cranberry growers from Massachusetts, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and other parts of Canada, as well as 126 Florida grapefruit growers.

COPYRIGHT 2002 U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Business – Cooperative Service

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