Current Driscoll’s chairman and CEO J Miles Reiter is to retire in January 2024, taking up the role of executive chairman 

Berry giant Driscoll’s has announced that its board of directors has elected Soren Bjorn, currently president of Driscoll’s of the Americas, as the company’s new CEO.

Soren Bjorn Driscolls

Soren Bjorn

According to the group, Bjorn will assume the role in January 2024 and oversee the company’s global day-to-day operations.

J Miles Reiter, the current chairman and CEO of Driscoll’s, has announced his plan to retire at the end of the year and become executive chairman of the family-owned company.

Bjorn joined Driscoll’s in 2006 and has been involved in nearly every facet of the business over the past 17 years.

As the former senior vice-president of international business and global technologies, he led business development in Europe, South America, and Australia, as well as global R&D and breeding.

He became the leader of Driscoll’s business unit in North America in 2013 and was elevated to his current position as president of Driscoll’s of the Americas in 2017.

Driscoll’s said that, as the incoming CEO, Bjorn’s priorities were to ”maintain the company’s thriving culture and continue accelerating its global growth”.

Bjorn will also guide the company’s efforts to implement new technologies that improve operational efficiencies and ensure the business remains resilient against industry-wide challenges such as climate change, it stated.

“I’m humbled that Miles, the board, and the thousands of Driscoll’s team members around the world have entrusted me to guide the company into its future,” Bjorn said.

“Miles’ legacy is the power and clarity of Driscoll’s mission, vision, and values. He has used them to guide every decision and action for the company.

”As the new steward of Driscoll’s, I fully commit to all our employees, partners and customers that I will build upon his legacy and honor these same principles,” he noted.

Berry business veteran

Reiter has been involved in the berry business in some capacity for much of the past 70 years.

After college, he became a berry grower in California’s Pajaro Valley in the 1970s and was elected chairman of the board of directors in 1988.

Reiter has twice served as the company’s CEO – once from 2000-2015 and again from 2018-present.

“Generations of my family before me and, I suspect, generations after, have been or will be, deeply involved in this always fascinating business,” said Reiter.

“A particular pleasure has been to get to know the people who make up our global team of employees, independent growers, industry partners and retail customers, whether it be in the field, at a work site, in the market, over a glass of wine and a meal, or best yet, all of the above.

“It’s now time for me to step aside as CEO,” he continued. ”Along with our board of directors, I have sought a new leader who is deeply committed to our values, our mission, and a future in which Driscoll’s becomes the world’s berry company, enriching the lives of everyone we touch.

”It is with great enthusiasm and confidence that we appoint Soren as the new CEO,” Reiter added. ”His deep global knowledge of the berry business, powerful intellect, sound judgment, and contagious sense of humour make him uniquely qualified for this role.”

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New concepts in retail store design, the latest advances in vertical farming, new investment in sustainable packaging, and the development of alternative markets are among the central themes of this year’s Global Berry Congress.

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The world’s leading event for the berry industry returns to the WTC-Beurs in Rotterdam on 28 November with another top-level lineup of expert speakers and highly relevant topics.

The agenda  covers the latest trends and challenges that will shape the fresh berry category in the next 12 months, as well as game-changing innovations that will help the business to grow. Click here for more information.