March 29, 2021 – Although boards of directors are considered the backbones of organizations, director recruiting has grown markedly more challenging, say recruiters who conduct searches in that area. As a result, companies continue to turn to executive search firms to help find new board members. Greenwich, Conn-based RSR Partners recently assisted fresh berry provider Driscoll’s in the recruitment of Giannella Alvarez, former CEO and director of the board at Beanitos, and Graciela Monteagudo, the former president and CEO of LALA U.S., as new board members. Gretchen Crist led the search. “Giannella is a highly creative and decisive leader who has a proven track record of talent building and energizing organizations across countries, customers and channels,” said J. Miles Reiter, Driscoll’s chairman and CEO. “Her significant on-the-ground international experiences will serve as an invaluable asset as Driscoll’s continues to grow and adapt to the ever-changing marketplace.”
Graciela’s expertise in addressing the Mexican consumer and retail environment will be invaluable to Driscoll’s as the company navigates increasing consumer demand, said Mr. Reiter. “Her experience in consumer brands, especially in the health and nutrition sector, will bolster Driscoll’s capability and success in markets around the globe.”
Ms. Alvarez brings to the Driscoll’s board 35 years of experience across a wide range of industries in the U.S., Latin America and Europe, having led multi-billion-dollar brands for Fortune 100 companies including Procter & Gamble and the Coca-Cola Co. in senior executive positions. She served as group president and CEO for Barilla Americas, a division of Barilla SpA., as well as president and CEO of organic food start-ups, including Harmless Harvest Inc. Named one of 2019’s “Most Influential Corporate Board Directors” by Women Inc., Ms. Alvarez is also an experienced public company board director. She brings a deep expertise in marketing, innovation, business scaling and global expansion as well as a passion for food, health and wellness, sustainability, and equality, with her experience as an advisory board member of New York University’s Stern School Center for Sustainable Business.
Ms. Monteagudo built her 30-year executive career at multinational Fortune 500 companies across the consumer products, healthcare, and retail industries. She has significant experience in general management roles, previously leading multi-billion-dollar corporations including SVP and business unit head for Sam’s Club in Mexico, and president Americas and global marketing for Mead Johnson Nutrition Americas.
She most recently served as CEO and president of LALA U.S. a leading Hispanic dairy company owned by Grupo LALA, one of the top 10 dairy companies in North America. Ms. Monteagudo is an experienced public company board director who has also been spotlighted in the 2019 Latino Leaders Magazine Latinos on Board report and the 2020 Best of the Boardroom feature of Hispanic Executive Magazine. She brings to the board a diverse perspective regarding domestic and international markets, digital marketing/ecommerce, Hispanic and Latin American consumers, as well as a demonstrated capability in strategic planning, M&A, diversity/inclusion, and cultural transformation.
Family owned-and-operated for more than 100 years, Driscoll’s is the global market leader of fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. With more than 900 independent growers around the world, Driscoll’s develops exclusive patented berry varieties using only traditional breeding methods that focus on growing great tasting berries. A dedicated team of agronomists, breeders, sensory analysts, plant pathologists and entomologists help grow baby seedlings that are then grown on local family farms. Driscoll’s now serves consumers year-round across North America, Australia, Europe and China in over 22 countries.
RSR Partners, founded by Russell S. Reynolds Jr. in 1993, offers any number of vertical specializations, including consumer goods and services, hospitality, industrial, financial services, retail, board, CEOs, CFOs, CHROs, chief information officers, chief marketing officers, sport leadership, risk, board recruiting, board advisory, management consulting, technology, innovation, leadership, assessment, asset management, family office, fintech, investment technology, blockchain, cryptocurrency, leadership assessment, executive search, talent, talent advisory, healthcare, life sciences, human capital and corporate affairs.
A confluence of issues is landing on the doorsteps of the chairs of nominating and governance committees, says a new report from RSR Partners. Among them: environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG); workforce safety and transformation; and diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I). Let’s take a closer look at the new reality.
Ms. Crist leads the firm’s human capital and consumer goods and services practices. She is also a member of the firm’s board and CEO services team and its family-owned and family office team. She has more than 20 years of experience as a senior human resources executive in private equity and public company environments. She has recruited numerous professionals into top human resources roles as well as C-suite and senior executives into various leadership roles across a variety of organizations. Ms. Crist also advises on the changing and dynamic function of the chief human resources officer and provides human capital strategy and advisory services to CEOs, CHROs, and boards of directors. Prior to joining RSR Partners, she was the CHRO and a member of the executive committee at Henkel North America.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media