DENVER, COLORADO, U.S. — Elevating its customer focus in a rapidly changing marketplace, Ardent Mills on Jan. 22 announced that Angie Goldberg has joined the company as chief growth officer. A veteran marketing executive, Goldberg brings to the newly-created position more than 17 years of experience at high-profile grain-based foods companies.
As a member of the Ardent Mills senior leadership team, Goldberg will oversee innovation, research, quality and technical services, marketing, sales, and the Annex by Ardent Mills. She will report to Daniel P. Dye, chief executive officer.
Goldberg joins Ardent Mills from Dawn Foods, Jackson, Michigan, U.S., where she spent more than eight years, most recently as chief transformation officer and chief marketing officer. Before joining Dawn, she spent more than nine years at Barilla USA, Chicago, where she was a marketing director, helping the company rapidly grow its pasta business to achieve market share leadership.
“Angie brings deep knowledge of the food industry, as well as strong marketing and transformational experience,” Dye said. “She will be essential as we continually reshape our approach to innovation and relationships. We have made changes to the leadership team to become more customer-focused; we are excited about where we are headed as we make proactive investments and meet consumer demands for different flours, specialty grains and plant-based foods.”
In an interview with Milling & Baking News, a sister publication of World Grain, Dye said the changes at Ardent Mills, including the creation of the chief growth officer position, reflect a recognition of changes in the company’s customer base, consumers and food and agriculture overall.
“Change has been very rapid, and we expect more,” Dye said. “At Ardent Mills, we see that as opportunity.”
Asked what attracted her to the milling industry and Ardent Mills, Goldberg said she too sees the dynamic marketplace in the flour milling and specialty milling/grains sector as full of potential.
“The opportunity for growth, both on the core business but also what the Annex is doing, is exciting and innovative,” she said. “I think the whole mindset that Ardent Mills is taking, to understand the broader market — consumer trends, and changing desires; backing that up into the customer space in terms of what does that mean, what customers are looking for and how we can help support them. It was the opportunity for growth in the business as well as the overall vision and values of the organization.”
To capitalize on the changes requires bringing new ideas, expertise and experiences, Dye said.
“The CGO position is a great way to think about the business differently, with new structure and perspective to complement the great team that we have,” he said.
Overall U.S. flour demand has been flat in recent years, creating challenges for the flour milling industry, and Ardent Mills has not been immune to those challenges, Dye said.
“There are pockets of growth,” he said. “There is innovation. It isn’t always easy to find. We are committed to discovering ways to find value for our customers and help customers be more successful.”
Goldberg is no novice to marketing challenges in growth-hungry segments of the grain-based foods industry, a sector not renowned for its marketing focus.
“I’ve been fortunate in my career that I have been able to either build marketing capabilities in organizations or shift the thinking of what marketing means,” Goldberg said. “I would say the same thing about grain-based foods. In my mind, marketing is about generating demand and driving opportunities for growth. It’s about understanding customers’ needs and making sure you are bringing forth solutions, whether new products or services that can help support them.
“An example could be insights around specialty grains (in our case) or providing strong technical support along with innovative products to enable growth.”
Applying these principles at Barilla led to the brand’s rapid emergence in the United States. While at Dawn, she helped the company navigate change as it approached its centennial. Both experiences will be valuable at Ardent Mills.
“I think learnings from both Barilla and Dawn Foods are extremely relevant as I’m digging in and understanding the opportunities at Ardent Mills,” she said.
Dye described the creation of the CGO position as part of a continuum of innovation and change basic to Ardent Mills, formed based on the idea it could bring innovation to the marketplace by tapping into the resources of the three organizations behind the company – Conagra Brands, Inc.; Cargill; and CHS, Inc.
“Bringing Angie on board lines up with our commitment to people, our network of assets, customers, vendors, and farmers — all of which are key in a purpose-driven, healthy and focused organization,” Dye said.
Goldberg holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Indiana University and a master’s degree in management strategy and marketing from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.