One of the most iconic organic brands, Stonyfield Farm, recently announced that former Ben & Jerry’s CEO Walt Freese will replace Gary Hirshberg as Stonyfield’s CE-Yo on January 23rd.
Hirshberg has served as head of Stonyfield since the company’s inception almost 30 years ago. He’s taken the brand from a small-time organic yogurt maker in Southern New Hampshire, to a national brand available in almost every conventional grocery store in the country, and navigated the company through intense scrutiny over its position on genetically modified foods.
“I feel ready to step away from the day-to-day responsibilities of guiding our company and to focus on promoting our extraordinary organic, health, environmental and sustainable business successes to wider state, national and international audiences,” said Hirshberg in a statement.
Freese brings a full portfolio of experience, talents and passion to Stonyfield. As Ben & Jerry’s CEO, Freese led the company on a fantastic growth track, while championing their social mission and interfacing with Unilever. Before that, he was the President of Celestial Seasonings under Hain’s ownership, but also served as Chief Marketing Officer there when it was part of Kraft foods.
“…He has a strong foundation in the natural products world. Walt is a deeply good person with a big heart, a serious commitment to people and to our organic mission,” said Hirshberg of his successor.
Those who have grown to love Hirshberg over the years will be glad to hear that he won’t be cutting ties with Stonyfield completely: he will continue to serve as Stonyfield’s Chairman of the Board.
“As Stonyfield’s Chairman, I will continue contributing to Stonyfield’s growth and mission for years to come,” said Hirshberg. “I will be highly involved with the company, speaking on Stonyfield’s behalf, maintaining oversight of our European organic sister companies, our new Stonyfield Cafés and our Profits-for-the-Planet program among other roles.”