LAKEVILLE-MIDDLEBORO, MA — Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc. announced Monday that its Board of Directors has unanimously elected Tom Hayes as the cooperative's next president and chief executive officer.
Hayes is the former president and CEO of Tyson Foods, the largest food company in the US with $40 billion in sales and 122,000 employees. Between June 2016 and October 2018 at Tyson, Hayes introduced a new corporate brand, purpose, global growth strategy and approach to sustainability. He also led popular consumer brands including Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park.
"Ocean Spray is a unique company – one that asks its leaders to speak the language of consumers, farmers, grocers, bankers, manufacturers and employees all at once. In Tom Hayes, we believe we have found a leader who can speak to all of these audiences and continue the transformation of this cooperative," said Peter Dhillon, chairman of the Ocean Spray Board of Directors. "Tom's expertise in supply chain management, his understanding of agriculture and the challenges faced by growers, and his decades of experience in the consumer packaged goods industry make him ideally suited to lead Ocean Spray into its second century. We are thrilled to welcome Tom on board."
A native of southern New Hampshire, Hayes earned a BA from the University of New Hampshire and an MBA from Northwestern University. Prior to leading Tyson, Hayes was the Chief Supply Chain Officer at Hillshire Brands and Sara Lee. He has also held significant leadership roles at US Foods, ConAgra, and Kraft. Most recently, Hayes served as a partner at Entrepreneurial Equity Partners (e2p), a private equity firm that invests in middle market companies in the food industry.
"For everyone who grew up in New England, the Ocean Spray name is not just a global brand – it's part of our culture. The heritage of the company and its 700 farmer owners is one to be celebrated and shared across the world, and I want to ensure it is protected and positioned to grow for a long time to come," Hayes said. "Joining Ocean Spray at such a pivotal moment, as it approaches its centennial, presents an extraordinary opportunity to look toward the future, tackle new challenges, and ensure that this cooperative will succeed for another hundred years."
Ocean Spray is a vibrant agricultural cooperative owned by more than 700 cranberry growers in the United States, Canada and Chile. Formed in 1930, Ocean Spray is now the world's leading producer of cranberry juices, juice drinks and dried cranberries and is the top-selling brand in the North American bottled juice category.