Pi Executive Places CHRO at Ajinomoto Windsor

March 22, 2017 – Talent advisory firm Pi Executive has recruited Marco A. Leal as chief human resources officer (CHRO) of Ajinomoto Windsor, a top manufacturer of Asian / Ethnic foods. The search was conducted by partner and board member Pierre Trippitelli and assisted by director Katherine MacLane.

Mr. Leal brings over 20 years of experience developing world class HR organizations within fast growing consumer goods companies. He is a versatile human resources executive and general business leader who has developed a reputation of being ‘the business person’s HR leader’ and a role model with respect to leadership behaviors.

The appointment comes as the company looks to build upon its recent acquisition of Windsor and aims to become a leading manufacturer of Asian / Ethnic food products in the surging Asian category of the North American frozen food market. By using Windsor’s distribution network, Ajinomoto Co. plans to increase sales of Gyoza (pot stickers), noodle and rice products that are specialties to the company in U.S. retail channels and to strengthen its sales platform in food service channels.


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Mr. Leal joins the Japanese native company from Rush Street Gaming (RSG), a regional casino operator and a private equity-owned business. Prior to RSG, he worked with Bel Brands where he led full service human resources activity for its Americas and Asia Pacific regions. While there, he created organizational structures and helped improve decision making processes to help manage hyper-growth and improve employee engagement. Mr. Leal’s previous engagements were with major corporations in various industries, including Chase Manhattan Bank, Ford Motor Company and more recently PepsiCo and Wm. Wrigley Jr. / Mars Inc.

Consumer brand recruitment firm Perpetual Insights launched its executive search and human resources consulting arm, Pi Executive, last year. Mr. Trippitelli joined the firm to lead the new division. Previously, he served as a member of the global consumer practice at Korn Ferry. Since its inception at the beginning of last year, Pi Executive has conducted over 50 executive searches in the C-suite and provided numerous talent consulting assignments.

Mr. Trippitelli’s recent searches include finding a global CEO for a food retail company; a global CEO for a food ingredients company; a president and CEO for a North America food ingredients company; a CEO for a dairy company; a COO for a U.S. confectionery company; a CMO for a global beverage company; head of operations & supply chain for a global beverage company; and a CFO for a global skincare concern.

CHRO Recruiting

Hunt Scanlon Media has tracked a number of CHRO search assignments in recent months. Here’s a sampling of just a few taken from the company’s daily newswire archives:

  • Hanold Associates recently recruited Krischelle Tennessen as CHRO for The Marvin Companies, the world’s largest manufacturer of made-to-order wood window and door products. Ms. Tennessen was most recently SVP of HR with Kum & Go. Jason Hanold, CEO of Hanold Associates, led the search. Mr. Hanold also just placed Will O’Brien as CHRO of Angie’s List. Mr. O’Brien was most recently the VP of international human resources with Equifax;
  • The Christopher Group has been tapped by ACI Payments to lead its search for a new CHRO. The firm has also been retained by Sports Clips Haircuts to find its next HR leader. “We are searching for a leader with incredible energy and whose values mirror that of Sports Clips, which are to ‘Do Your Best, Do What’s Right, and to Treat Others the Way They Want to Be Treated,’” said Erin Merker, a vice president and managing partner at the search firm;
  • Boyden recruited Heather Laychak as CHRO of The Aerospace Corporation. Tim McNamara, managing partner of Boyden’s Washington, D.C. office and a leader in the firm’s aerospace, defense & intelligence and global transportation sectors, led the search. Ms. Laychak comes to Aerospace from Mattel, where she was the senior director of talent management;

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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