Steve Lutz has left his position at Chicago-based marketing and consulting firm Nielsen Perishables Group to become vice-president of marketing at Columbia Marketing International (CMI), an established US grower-distributor of premium quality apples, pears and cherries.
Lutz, who co-founded Nielsen Perishables Group, had been with the firm since June 2000. In his new position he replaces Bob Mast, who was promoted to president of CMI in April 2013.
His primary work at Nielsen Perishables Group involved helping organisations understand and merge consumer information and supermarket sales data to develop innovative growth strategies.
“Steve has been studying consumer buying trends and habits for many years and this insight will be very beneficial to CMI as we assist our retail partners in navigating through some very large national crops in the years ahead,” explained Bob Mast, CMI president, in a company press release.
Lutz said he is thrilled to be joining the team at CMI. “CMI has a legacy of innovation and leadership in the fruit industry which is really exemplified by the success they have had introducing new varieties like Ambrosia, KIKU and Kanzi. I look forward to working with the CMI staff and customers to expand sales and ultimately enhance returns to growers.”
Lutz has worked for more than 30 years in various areas of marketing and management.
As a respected industry leader, he has been a top-rated speaker at the Food Marketing Institute, Produce Marketing Association, Canadian Produce Marketing Association, Boston International Seafood Show and other associations throughout the world.
Prior to co-founding the Perishables Group in June 2000, Lutz served as president and CEO of the Washington Apple Commission.
His previous marketing experience includes Nutri-System as well as The Olgilvy Group where he was primarily responsible for the development of marketing and advertising programs for key clients.
Lutz holds an MBA from City University in Seattle and a bachelor's degree in communications/advertising from Washington State University.
He also completed the marketing management programme in the graduate school of business at Stanford University.
He currently serves on the Retail/Foodservice Board of United Fresh and is also the facilitator for the Food Marketing Institute Fresh Foods Executive Committee and is a past member of the board of directors for the Produce Marketing Association.
He is the immediate past chairman of the Professional Advisory Board of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communications at Washington State University.