Report: Chobani Rehires its Former President to Fill Leadership Gap

Former Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns is reportedly rejoining Chobani after serving as its president and COO from 2014-2016.

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According to a March 17 report by the Wall Street Journal, dairy products maker Chobani has tapped one of its former top executives for its vacant role of president and CFO.

Citing an internal memo it reviewed, the WSJ said that Chobani has hired former Juul Labs CEO Kevin Burns, who was Chobani’s president and COO for nearly 3 years from 2014-2016. He then led e-cigarette maker Juul for the next 2 years before leading San Francisco-based pharmacy services provider Alto Pharmacy since June 2020.

Burns will report to Chobani founder and CEO, Hamdi Ulukaya, who has taken over interim leadership of the yogurt and milks maker after its president and COO Peter McGuinness abruptly left the company on March 11. On March 17, Impossible Foods’ CEO announced that McGuinness will succeed him in that role on April 4.

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Besides McGuinness, several other key Chobani leaders have also reportedly left the company this month, including chief people officer Grace Zuncic, chief strategy officer Michelle Brooks and chief corporate affairs officer Cristina Alesci. Those departures came upon reported news that Chobani had further delayed plans to hold an initial public offering.

Chobani had originally planned to hold an IPO this past fall, before pushing it to January, according to a WSJ source familiar with the matter. The company eyed an initial valuation of $7 billion to $10 billion. Now, Chobani reportedly intends to hold off until at least the second half of 2022 or into 2023 for an IPO.

In recent years, Chobani has expanded beyond its Greek yogurt products that powered its rise to prominence with oat-based milk alternatives and cold brew coffee.