Two top executives instrumental to the success of Rich Products (Rich’s) are passing the baton to a new generation of leaders in a thoughtfully orchestrated transition that leverages their significant contributions at the 76-year-old global, family-owned food company and paves the way for transformational change. President and Chief Operating Officer, U.S.-Canada Region Ray Burke will retire Dec. 31, 2021, followed by Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jim Deuschle on March 31, 2022.
“Ray, Jim, and I have known each other for most of our professional careers and I’m infinitely proud of their leadership and all they’ve done to create the position of strength Rich Products operates from today,” said Rich’s President and CEO Richard Ferranti. “Their focus, discipline and vision have been critical to our ability to emerge from the pandemic with a strong global business, healthy balance sheet, diversified portfolio, and aggressive growth plans.”
Kevin Spratt has been promoted to president, U.S.-Canada region and David Faturos has been promoted to executive vice president, chief financial officer. Dave Cowperthwait will join the executive team as executive vice president, chief supply chain officer, a newly created role at Rich’s. Beyond the core executive team, Rich’s announced a number of additional leadership changes including Lauren Lopez, who has been promoted to senior vice president, foodservice division. Also, Rich’s has announced the creation of a new Transformation Office, which will be overseen by Georgia Dachille, executive vice president, chief innovation, strategy and transformation officer, and led by Kristin Alongi, who has been named vice president, business transformation. This office will be tasked with creating an organized, focused strategy and governance process around the organization’s portfolio, productivity and digital transformation initiatives.
Outgoing leaders leave a combined 67-year legacy
Ray Burke’s contributions as president and COO of Rich’s US-Canada business culminate a 40-year career with Rich’s, during which he rose through the ranks to lead the company’s consumer brands, foodservice, in-store bakery, deli and ingredients divisions, as well as its demand creation and all category business unit teams. Burke has also served as executive sponsor for Rich’s Workplace Inclusion Advisory Team.
A graduate of the University at Buffalo, Burke joined Rich’s in 1981 as part of the company’s manager-in-training program. He is a member of the American Bakers Association and served two terms as president of the International Dairy Deli Bakery Association.
Outgoing CFO Jim Deuschle has steered Rich’s financial leadership, planning, reporting and information systems while also overseeing the company’s global supply chain and risk management teams. He brought to his role a deep background managing all financial groups, strategic business planning, risk assessment, and internal investments and acquisitions. Deuschle joined Rich’s in 1994 from EY (then Ernst & Young).
A certified New York State public accountant, Deuschle earned an executive MBA from the University at Buffalo and a bachelor’s in accounting from Canisius College. He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program. He serves as treasurer for West Buffalo Charter School and is a member of the Canisius College Council of Accountancy, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Rising leaders to shape a new executive team on Jan. 1
Kevin Spratt, president, U.S.-Canada region
A 20-year veteran of Rich’s, Spratt was appointed senior vice president, group business channels in 2020, expanding his leadership to include all U.S.-Canada business-to-business divisions, including foodservice, in-store bakery and deli—direct chains and small/mid-sized retailers, direct store delivery (DSD), ingredients, and Canada. Known for developing strong teams and fostering and building relationships across the organization and industry, Spratt has the proven experience to succeed Burke.
David Faturos, executive vice president, chief financial officer
Currently serving as senior vice president finance and business development, Faturos has driven global finance excellence under Deuschle’s leadership and has been instrumental in leading Rich’s growth by acquisition strategy over the past five years. His personal development over the course of 27 years at Rich’s has made him uniquely qualified to succeed Deuschle as CFO. A certified New York State public accountant, Faturos holds an MBA in finance and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Canisius College.
Dave Cowperthwait, executive vice president, chief supply chain officer
Taking on a new role at Rich’s, Cowperthwait will be tasked with leading Rich’s transformation into a digitally-driven supply chain organization, leveraging the company’s global infrastructure, technology, and people. He joined Rich’s in 2017 after significant leadership roles with McCain Foods and Kellogg’s and currently serves as senior vice president, global supply chain. Cowperthwait earned an MBA from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania and a bachelor’s degree from Pennsylvania State University.
A new leader in foodservice
Lauren Lopez, senior vice president foodservice division
Over the past 10 years, Lopez has steered and shaped the dessert businesses for Rich’s. Known for her drive and results, Lopez will leverage her passion for the business and general management skills to lead Rich’s foodservice division into the future. Lopez holds an MBA in finance, international management and consulting from State University of New York at Buffalo and a bachelor’s from SUNY’s Geneseo campus. Like Burke, Lopez joined Rich Products through its management training program.
As the new executive team takes shape, Rich’s has tapped Georgia Dachille and Kristin Alongi to lead its new Transformation Office. As executive vice president, chief innovation, strategy and transformation officer, Dachille, a 30-year veteran of Rich’s, will expand her focus to include enterprise strategic planning and driving transformational change. This is in addition to her ongoing oversight of global research and development, Rich Products Ventures, and external innovation.
Reporting to Dachille, Alongi has taken on a new role as vice president, business transformation and is responsible for global process—a key part of the transformation effort and ongoing business operations moving forward. Alongi joined Rich’s in 2010 and was most recently vice president of executive team governance and enterprise strategic planning.
Together, Dachille and Alongi will lead a team tasked with driving transformational change in Rich’s business processes, technology and culture, creating a fully networked organization with shared goals and an enterprise mindset. The new Transformation Office was created to address the impacts of technological advancements on everything from consumer expectations and demands to the continual need for increased speed and productivity. Its solutions will future-proof Rich’s business, enabling exceptional growth, productivity, and strategic capability development moving forward.