July 19, 2023 – Executive recruitment firm Kincannon & Reed, which exclusively focuses on food, agribusiness, and the related life sciences, recently placed Brian McCarthy as vice president of human resources of organic mushroom grower Highline Mushrooms in Leamington, Ontario. The assignment was led by managing partners Janet Wightman and John Wright.
With more than two decades of experience as an HR generalist, Mr. McCarthy has specialized in leading transformational HR change to scale for organizational success. He has held roles with organizations across a wide range of sectors including technology, food, healthcare, and transportation manufacturing. Most recently, Mr. McCarthy was responsible for all workforce activities for Canadian pork producer HyLife.
“Brian is a seasoned human resource professional with exceptional communication skills, giving him the ability to connect with a wide range of audiences,” said Ms. Wightman. “He is a proven collaborator that builds trust.”
In his new role, Mr. McCarthy is responsible for directing the people functions of the organization. He has been tasked with developing and implementing a comprehensive HR strategy with the mission of fostering an inclusive, engaged workforce at Highline. This will include the creation and execution of talent acquisition and retention strategies, employee development plans and internal relations programs.
“Results-oriented and highly adaptable, Brian is an HR leader that inspires those around him and challenges the status quo,” said Mr. Wright. “He is a demonstrated problem-solver with the ability to build strong relationships.”
Founded in 1961, Highline Mushrooms produces in the range of 100 million pounds of fresh and canned mushrooms each year across its nine farming operations throughout Canada. The company employs approximately 2,000 across all growing facilities and corporate offices.
Founded in 1981, Kincannon & Reed serves clients throughout the world from locations in the Americas, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The firm is based in Arlington, VA. Kincannon & Reed’s mission is: “We recruit leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy.”
Having placed more than 125 executives to date, Ms. Wightman brings expertise in search as well as deep executive experience. Her focus is on agricultural technology and inputs, finance and capital, global agribusiness, private equity organizations, and production and associations. Prior to joining Kincannon & Reed, she was president and CEO of Victoria Park Capital Inc., an investment management firm. Ms. Wightman holds the governance designation awarded by the Institute of Corporate Directors and has served on several private and public company and non-profit boards. Ms. Wightman came to Kincannon & Reed in 2011.
Mr. Wright brings extensive experience as an executive and entrepreneur focused on the crop inputs and production sectors. His network and connections throughout the industry are strong. Prior to K&R, Mr. Wright led organizations such as Agriliance LLC, Helm Fertilizer, and Keytrade North America, as well as being president, founder and co-owner of Solce Fertilizer Co.
A Previous Assignment
Last fall, Kincannon & Reed placed Jose Cambon as CEO of Highline Mushrooms. Mr. Cambon joined the company with more than two decades of experience, with the previous 10 years in the mushroom sector in Australia. Prior to joining Highline Mushrooms, he held a series of progressively senior roles with Costa Group over the past decade. Most recently, he was GM of Vertical Farming. Mr. Cambon is a senior executive with extensive experience and a deep understanding of all facets of business (general management, sales, finance, HR, project management, and operations), with a strong commercial acumen and demonstrated success in both turnaround and growth environments.
Reporting to the board of directors, Mr. Cambon is responsible for the overall performance and strategic growth of the company. He will lead performance improvement initiatives throughout the organization and continue the development of high-performing teams within Highline.
“Jose is an ambitious, driven leader who enjoys a challenge,” said Ms. Wightman, who helped lead the assignment. “He is a strategic thinker with an impressive track record of building innovative teams that deliver results.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media