Cheese Maker Sargento Announces Slew of Leadership Appointments

Six new appointments span roles in IT, food safety & quality, pricing & demand planning, strategic planning, financial planning, and finance.


PLYMOUTH, WI — Sargento Foods Inc. has welcomed new leaders and announce new roles: Kris Cherukuri, Vice President of Information Technology, Vera Petrova Dickinson, Vice President of Food Safety & Quality, Chris McCarthy, Vice President of Pricing & Demand Planning, Holly Baumgart, Vice President of Strategic Planning, Julia Klimkovich, Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis, and Dennis Schweiger, Vice President & Treasurer, Corporate Finance & Accounting.

Kris Cherukuri – VP Information Technology
Kris Cherukuri joined Sargento as Vice President of Information Technology in August 2021. In this role, Kris is responsible for the company's existing technology platforms while leading the charge to deliver new technology-driven capabilities that support Sargento's strategic growth objectives. Kris now leads all the teams in Sargento's IT department which includes Strategy, Infrastructure, Applications, and Governance.

Kris joins Sargento from Sysmex America Inc., where he led the Enterprise Systems team that drove transformation across the enterprise application/analytics portfolio supporting the order-to-cash, procure-to-pay, plan-to-schedule, produce-to-deliver, record-to-report, human capital management, and IT service management processes. Prior to his role at Sysmex, he held several senior IT roles over eight years with Tyson Foods. 

Kris received a Bachelor of Technology from Indian Institute of Technology – Madras, India and an MBA from Indiana University.

Vera Petrova Dickinson, VP – Food Safety & Quality
Vera Petrova Dickinson joined the Sargento Family in June 2021, as Vice President of Food Safety and Quality. In this role, Vera is responsible for strategic development and execution of food safety and quality standards and systems across the Sargento Foods supply chain.

Vera held relative leadership roles in several global organizations, including Walt Disney World, Mondelez International, Mars Wrigley, and most recently, Danone North America. Vera brings with her vast knowledge and expertise in food safety, food quality, strategic direction, analytical methods, and regulatory compliance.

Vera holds a PhD in Animal Sciences and Nutrition and Food Sciences as well as a Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Sciences from the University of Vermont. She earned her MBA from the University of Phoenix and a Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from Moscow State Pedagogical University.

Chris McCarthy, VP – Pricing & Demand Planning
Chris McCarthy is Vice President of Pricing and Demand Planning. In his new role, Chris is responsible for the management of the Divisions' pricing, promotions/trade budgets, demand planning, and terms and conditions coordination. Chris continues to lead the CPD Price/Commodity Management process with Sargento's FPA partners.

Since joining the company as a Director of Marketing for Natural Cheese Adjacencies in 2013, Chris has held various leadership positions including VP - Strategic Planning, Director of Marketing for Core Products, and Director of Integrated Marketing Communications. He has been a key contributor to several of our historical core and new product growth initiatives.

Chris earned his Bachelor of Marketing from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA from Northwestern University.

Holly Baumgart, VP – Strategic Planning
Holly Baumgart is Vice President of Strategic Planning. In her role, Holly focuses on the long-term health of our business, bringing our Real Food vision to life, and leading several key strategic and corporate initiatives.

Since joining Sargento as Vice President of IT, Holly has led the transformation of IT as a business partner to all areas of the company. She is a visible leader in IT, developing an aligned IT strategy and establishing an IT Project Management Team to ensure IT resources are focused against Sargento's top priorities. Holly has championed many technological solutions that impact the way we work daily including IBP for S&OP, upgraded internet bandwidth, and conference room A/V upgrades.   

Holly has more than 15 years of experience in IT, business development, and consulting. Prior to joining Sargento in 2016, Holly held leadership roles at Harley Davidson and Ernst & Young. 

Holly earned her BBA from the University of Illinois, her Master in Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame, and her MBA in Strategy, Marketing, and International Business from Northwestern University.

Julia Klimkovich, VP – Financial Planning & Analysis
Julia Klimkovich is Vice President of Financial Planning & Analysis (FP&A). She leads all FP&A across the enterprise which includes Consumer Products, Food Service & Ingredients, Operations and SG&A. In this new role, Julia drives comprehensive processes for developing financial plans and analysis while partnering with operational and business leaders across the organization. She is passionate about creating strong partnerships to drive performance, strategic growth, and margin optimization initiatives.

Prior to Sargento, Julia held various leadership positions at Johnson Controls and Associated Bank in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where her consistent contributions made both business and professional impacts. Since joining the Sargento Family in 2015, Julia's vision and expertise have uncovered significant financial insights that have enabled growth and improved profitably in an increasingly inflationary environment.

Julia earned her BBA in Finance from the University of Wisconsin and her MBA from Marquette University.

Dennis Schweiger, VP & Treasurer – Corporate Finance & Accounting
Dennis Schweiger has accepted the position of Vice President & Treasurer of Corporate Finance & Accounting at Sargento Foods Inc. In this role, Dennis oversees all aspects of Sargento corporate accounting, credit, and treasury functions while continuing to strengthen the talent within the finance organization.

Dennis began his journey at Sargento in 2017 and most recently served as Director of Financial Planning & Analysis. Before officially joining the Sargento Family, he spent more than 17 years at Kohler Co., where he held a range of leadership positions spanning commercial operations, treasury, and corporate accounting. He boasts a well-rounded financial background and a portfolio of significant experience in financial risk management, mergers and acquisitions, financial planning and analysis, and talent acquisition and development.

Dennis received his BBA in Finance and Entrepreneurship from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. He earned his Master of Professional Accountancy from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.

With over 2,000 employees and net sales of $1.5 billion, Sargento Foods is a family-owned company that has been a leader in cheese for more than 65 years. Founded in 1953 in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Sargento is proud to be the company that successfully introduced America to pre-packaged sliced and shredded natural cheeses and cheese blends. Today, Sargento Foods is still based in Wisconsin, where they manufacture and market amazing shredded, sliced and snack natural cheese products, as well as ingredients and sauces. Company leadership lives to serve local communities and employees, whom they refer to as the Sargento Family.