San Francisco-based Diamond Foods has appointed food and beverage industry veteran Brian J. Driscoll as president and CEO, effective May 8. Driscoll, who will join the Diamond board of directors, replaces Rick G. Wolford, a director who has served as interim CEO since Feb. 7 while the company conducted a nationwide search for a permanent chief executive. Driscoll most recently served as the CEO of Hostess Brands.
“We are delighted to welcome Brian to Diamond Foods and believe that his proven management skills and his experience over a 30-year career with leading food and consumer businesses, such as Kraft, Nabisco, Nestle and Procter & Gamble and most recently at Hostess Brands Inc., make him a perfect choice for Diamond,” said Robert J. Zollars, Diamond’s chairman.
“I am excited about the many opportunities that lie ahead for the company under Brian’s leadership,” said Interim CEO and Diamond Director Rick Wolford. “I believe Diamond’s future is very bright and will benefit significantly from Brian’s experience as the leadership team resumes its industry leadership with the walnut business, executes on its branded snack strategies and further builds a high performance and productive company culture.”
“I am very optimistic about the future of Diamond Foods and look forward to working closely with our employees, the grower community and our customers to take Diamond’s businesses to another level,” said Driscoll. “Together, we plan to build on the momentum of Diamond’s impressive brands to grow sales, increase market share and drive shareholder value.”
Driscoll, 53, began his career in 1980 in sales with Procter &
Gamble, and joined Nestle Foods in 1985. During his 10 years with Nestle, Driscoll assumed increasing responsibilities culminating with his promotion to VP and general manager of the U.S. Roast and Coffee Division. In 1995, Nabisco recruited him to the position of president—sales and integrated logistics. In 1998, he was appointed to lead the biscuit direct store delivery sales and customer service organization. Driscoll joined Kraft with its acquisition of Nabisco as EVP for field sales and integrated logistics. During his tenure with Kraft, he held a number of executive positions overseeing customer business teams, retail sales and customer marketing. He rose to the position of president of sales, customer service. In June 2010, he was recruited to lead Hostess Brands where he served as chief CEO until March of this year.
Driscoll earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1980 from St. John’s University’s College of Business Administration. While at Kraft, he completed Northwestern University’s Kellogg School CEO Perspective Program.