Agriculture

Foster Farms names new leader

Laura Flanagan will take over as Foster Farms’ new president and chief executive officer. Flanagan, who most recently served as president of the Snacks Division at ConAgra Foods, will begin her new role at Foster Farms on Aug. 29, 2016.
Laura Flanagan will take over as Foster Farms’ new president and chief executive officer. Flanagan, who most recently served as president of the Snacks Division at ConAgra Foods, will begin her new role at Foster Farms on Aug. 29, 2016. Foster Farms

Foster Farms announced Wednesday that Laura Flanagan, a leader at ConAgra Foods, will become its next president and chief executive officer.

Flanagan 48, will take over Aug. 29 from Ron Foster, a grandson of company founders Max and Verda Foster. He will remain on the board of the Livingston-based business, according to a news release.

Flanagan most recently was president of the Snacks Division at ConAgra. She will oversee the top-selling poultry company in the West, with turkey production in Turlock and chicken plants in Livingston, Fresno and several other locations.

“She has an impressive record of transforming and growing household consumer brands across an ever-shifting landscape,” Ron Foster said in the news release. “We are confident that her strategic approach will lead Foster Farms to new heights within the U.S. meat and poultry industry.”

Foster announced in October 2014 that he was stepping down but agreed to stay on during what turned out to be a lengthy search for a successor at the 12,000-plus-employee company.

Flanagan was president of ConAgra’s Convenient Meals Division from 2008 to 2011. She also led initiatives on diversity and skill-building throughout the company, which cans tomatoes and refried beans in Oakdale.

Before joining ConAgra, Flanagan served as vice president and chief marketing officer of Tropicana Shelf Stable Juices at PepsiCo. She managed brands at General Mills and PepsiCo. and also was a manufacturing engineer at Saturn Corp. She earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1996.

“Foster Farms is a strong competitor in the national poultry landscape in large part because of its family-owned roots and its steadfast commitment to truly locally grown, fresh poultry,” Flanagan said.

Foster Farms grew by 70 percent during Ron Foster’s 13 years at the helm, the release said. It introduced antibiotic-free and organic lines and was honored for food-safety measures taken after a 2013 salmonella outbreak.

John Holland: 209-578-2385

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