California Avocado Commission names Ken Melban, Terry Splane co-executive leaders
The California Avocado Commission has named current CAC Vice President of Industry Affairs and Operations Ken Melban and Vice President of Marketing Terry Splane as co-executive leaders of the organization, effective immediately.
During CAC's Nov. 16 meeting the board elected its new slate of officers, including California avocado growers Jason Cole, chair; Rachael Laenen, vice chair; Daryn Miller, secretary; and Maureen Cottingham, treasurer.
“Since the departure of CAC’s former president, Ken and Terry have been managing the commission together very effectively,” said Cole. “Our board of directors has utmost confidence in their leadership and the strength of their combined expertise to oversee CAC’s staff, programs and finances.”
Melban joined the commission in 2011 as director, issues management. He was promoted to vice president of industry affairs in 2015, and to vice president of industry affairs and operations in 2022. He spearheaded the expansion of the California avocado export program, persisting to secure market access to China in 2020 after nine years of process and negotiation.
Other highlights of Melban’s tenure with CAC include working with government organizations for the benefit of California avocado growers, sustainability initiatives, development of Good Agricultural Practices for the California avocado industry, training and widespread adoption of the program.
Food industry veteran Splane was hired in March 2023 to be the organization’s new vice president of marketing. Since joining the commission he developed a new strategic plan and approach to marketing communications, led the search for a new agency of record and reorganized the marketing staff.
Splane has more than 30 years of sales and marketing experience in the foodservice and retail channels, most recently as head of partner success and strategy for Impossible Foods. Before working at Impossible Foods, for more than a decade he was vice president of marketing for Ventura Foods LLC.