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New Oppy roles embrace opportunities

With its eye on business growth and innovation, Oppy announced the promotion of James Milne, Karin Gardner, Brett Libke and Garland Perkins to four newly created positions.

“As we continue to grow in the highly demanding and dynamic global fresh produce industry, we’re adapting to new challenges with discipline but also a great deal of excitement about the opportunities ahead of us,” said David Smith, president. “This experienced and talented foursome is prepared to lead us forward into areas that build on our strengths and open the door for strategic innovation.”fClockwise from top left are James Milne, Karin Gardner, Garland Perkins and Brett Libke.

Milne has been promoted to senior vice president, categories and marketing. He is now charged with formulating the high-level strategic direction of each of Oppy’s major product groups, which include apples and pears, avocados, berries, citrus, field and greenhouse vegetables, grapes, tropicals and stone fruit. With strong teams in place responsible for each, Milne provides oversight and helps identify opportunities, exploring potential new growing regions, products and partnerships to assure Oppy’s portfolio remains relevant and leading edge. Milne has held leadership roles in virtually all Oppy categories throughout his 26-year tenure. Most recently vice president of marketing, categories and business development.

Gardner has been promoted to executive director of marketing, taking the reins from Milne and now leading the execution of Oppy’s overall marketing strategy, involving communications, branding, insights, integrated marketing campaigns and more. First joining Oppy in 1992, Gardner has served as director, corporate communications and marketing communications manager in recent years.

Working closely with Milne and Gardner to assure alignment between sales, marketing and categories, Libke has been promoted to senior vice president of sales, North America. Libke leads the sales strategy and market development initiatives for the full range of Oppy products across the U.S. and Canada, overseeing a team of over 50 sales professionals based in more than a dozen strategically located offices.

Libke served in various leadership positions of increasing responsibility since he joined the company in 2011, including vice president of sales, general manager, East Coast, and senior sales representative.

Breaking new ground at Oppy as a resource dedicated to innovation, Perkins has been promoted to senior manager of insights and innovation. Perkins is drawing from her experience in marketing, insights, and business development to create and execute an overarching company innovation strategy through a defined structure and process that brings great ideas at Oppy into fruition.