September 25, 2023 – New York-based retail and consumer focused executive search firm Herbert Mines Associates has assisted in the recruitment of John Niemann as the new chief executive officer of Cooks Venture, a vertically-integrated poultry business with proprietary genetics for a slower-growth, pasture-raised bird. “We are delighted to welcome John as our new CEO,” said Matt Feldman, board member. “John is a dynamic, values-driven business leader whose background and expertise aligns precisely with Cooks Venture’s mission.”
“He has exceptional strategic capabilities, proven operational effectiveness, and an entrepreneurial nature which is exactly what is needed for the company’s next stage of growth,” Mr. Feldman said. “The board looks forward to supporting John and the team as they continue to deliver long-term value to the business and delighting consumers with flavorful, high-quality protein.”
“Niemann’s extensive experience in the meat and poultry industries, coupled with his entrepreneurial background and expertise running a business that improves soil and animal health, made him an ideal choice for the CEO position,” the company said. “His leadership style, passion for innovation, and commitment to relentless improvement in the industry are exactly what is needed for Cooks Venture to capitalize on its customer demand and continue its growth trajectory.”
Mr. Niemann is an experienced business leader, entrepreneur, and regenerative agriculture farmer who previously held the position of president of protein ingredients and international at Cargill, one of the world’s top food and agriculture companies. As part of a 20-plus year career at Cargill, he was also president of Cargill’s turkey and cooked meats division, and before that, its food distribution business. “Throughout his career, Niemann has delivered growth, operational excellence, and value creation across all his business endeavors, including at his most recent ventures, Prime Dirt Midwest and Asido Biologicals, where he remains an investor and board director,” said the company.
“I am excited to lead Cooks Venture,” said Mr. Niemann. “This business has an impressive opportunity for growth and positive impact, and the chance to create meaningful change and a ‘better for you’ protein through a farm-to-fork regenerative poultry business. I look forward to working with the team to deliver on Cooks Venture’s full potential.”
Founded in 2019, Cooks Venture is a vertically-integrated poultry business committed to healthy animals, regenerative agriculture and a truly transparent supply chain, utilizing the company’s genetics for a slower-growth, pasture-raised bird. Cooks Venture is a Global Animal Partnership step 4 certified company, certified humane, and verified non-GMO.
Specialist Search Firm
Established in 1978, Herbert Mines is a specialist search firm focusing on the retail, fashion and apparel, beauty, consumer products and services, hospitality, leisure, restaurant, and digital/technology industries. The firm is noted for its C-suite recruiting work. Herbert Mines has had upwards of 3,600 searches during the tenure of Hal Reiter, who joined the firm in 1993 as president, and was appointed chairman and chief executive officer in 1998.
Herbert Mines Assists RugsUSA with CEO Search
Herbert Mines Associates has assisted in the recruitment of Alyssa Steele as the new CEO of RugsUSA, an E-commerce retailer and supplier of area rugs and home décor products. RugsUSA’s interim CEO Dinesh Lathi will continue with the company and return to his prior role as chairman of the board of directors. “We are thrilled to have an executive of Alyssa’s caliber join the RugsUSA team,” said Mr. Lathi. “Alyssa’s impressive track record at best-in-class companies combined with her passion for delivering for customers makes her the perfect candidate to drive growth and lead RugsUSA. I look forward to working with her as I transition back to my role as chairman of the board.”
Brenda Malloy is the firm’s president. She brings over 40 years of experience to Herbert Mines Associates. During her career, she has authored numerous articles on retail CEO succession, omnichannel leadership, in addition to being a featured speaker at the National Retail Federation’s annual convention in New York City. Working with leading retailers at the senior most levels to assemble winning leadership teams, Ms. Malloy primarily recruits board directors, CEOs, and their direct reports for publicly traded, privately held and private equity backed companies spanning vertical specialty, lifestyle and branded retail, off-price/value, grocery, hardlines, mass, and the specialty department store sectors.
Herbert Mines Associates recently helped to recruit Claudia Lima-Guinehut as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer of Claire’s Holdings in Hoffman Estates, IL. “Our product takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary for our consumers every day, and we are thrilled that Claudia is joining the team to help continue our legacy as an inviting place where people can experience the joy of self-expression,” said Ryan Vero, CEO.
With a track record of more than 20 years of creating compelling multichannel product offerings, Ms. Lima-Guinehut will be an integral part of the team as Claire’s continues to deliver stylish and on-trend product offerings, said the company. She will lead Claire’s Holdings’ global merchandising, sourcing, and design strategy as well as the brand’s industry-leading piercing business.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media