Brandon Gottsacker named CEO of Riverence; Jan Erik Kvingedal named FiiZK CEO

Brandon Gottsacker, the new CEO of Riverence
Brandon Gottsacker, the new CEO of Riverence | Photo courtesy of Riverence
4 Min

To keep up to date with the latest personnel changes across the seafood industry, SeafoodSource is compiling a regular round-up of hiring announcements and other personnel-related shifts worldwide. If you have an announcement, please send it to [email protected].

Riverence Group has appointed Brandon Gottsacker as its CEO. He replaces Rob Young, who served as the CEO of the group since 2014. Gottsacker has been on the Riverence board of directors since 2020 and has a dozen years of aquaculture experience, primarily leading Superior Fresh, a land-based salmon farm in the U.S. state of Wisconsin.

Riverence Farms operates six grow-out farms primarily raising steelhead and golden rainbow trout, while Riverence Provisions is made up of eight grow-out farms raising rainbow trout. The eggs for these trout come directly from Riverence’s recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) facilities in Washington state. Collectively, the Riverence companies produce more than 22 million pounds, or 10,000 metric tons, of fish annually, and employ over 300 team members.

"The Riverence Group is at the forefront of responsible aquaculture, and I am thrilled to join this esteemed organization as CEO," Gottsacker said in a release. "I look forward to working closely with the talented team within the Riverence Group to build upon the strong foundation established under Rob Young's leadership and further advance our mission of delivering premium-quality seafood while prioritizing environmental stewardship and community engagement.”

Riverence Vice President of Sustainability Todd English said Gottsacker has also been named CEO of Superior Fresh, where he previously served as president. He said the ownership of Superior Fresh and Riverence is shared.

"Brandon is the current CEO of Superior Fresh and will assume the position with Riverence as well. The two companies will operate separately. This is not a merger of the two of any sort," he said.

The ownership of Riverence Holdings LLC remains a 50-50 joint venture between Spring Salmon LLC and KFF LLC. Spring Salmon LLC operates Riverence Farms and Idaho-based rainbow trout producer and processor Evaqua Farms. In 2020, Riverence Holdings LLC acquired Clear Springs Foods, making it the largest trout farming company in the United States. 

Asked for details regarding the ownership of Riverence and Superior Fresh, English declind to elaborate.

"We’re not able to speak about the ownership of the two investment companies at present," he said.

- Trondheim, Norway-based aquaculture development company FiiZK has appointed Jan Erik Kvingedal as CEO. Kvingedal previously worked as supply chain director for ScaleAQ, factory director for Mowi, and as production director at BEWI Group.

“FiiZK has delivered 20 closed cages and possesses operational experience from over 60 production cycles that have been carried out without lice treatment and with good biological results. Jan Erik brings with him extensive industry expertise and will be an important contributor to further developing the company,” FiiZK Chair Ole Falk Hansen said in a release.

- Adriana Sanchez, founder of the Miami, Florida U.S.A.-based sustainable seafood strategy company Seafood Ninja, has joined Warrior Food Solutions and Sustainable Food Solutions, a newly formed seafood industry consultancy founded by Randy Rhodes and Dana Bartholomew.

Sanchez has an extensive background in the seafood industry, with a focus on traceability and sustainability issues.

“I'm excited to join these seafood industry veterans, Dana and Randy, and not only learn from their years of expertise in the industry but also bring the sustainability pillar to the way we should all be doing business into the future. Disrupting the business-as-usual model is why I founded Seafood Ninja, and I'm looking forward to becoming a part of this network and seeing what we can accomplish together,” Sanchez told SeafoodSource. 

Sanchez pivoted to full-time consulting in 2023, allowing her to focus on innovating sales strategies and sustainability efforts. 

"I've always disliked sales because of [lengthy and monotonous pitches]. But when I transitioned into full-time consulting, I realized the need to reframe my approach to sales. It is evident that we needed to break away from the traditional sales tactics and embrace innovation. We have to meet companies where they are and by better understanding their needs, we can help them position themselves, and their products, in a way that resonates with both buyers and end consumers,” Sanchez said in a release. 

- Land-based aquaculture technology company Pure Salmon Technology has appointed Jens Jensen as its international sales director. 

Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.-headquartered Pure Salmon is developing several recirculating aquaculture system farms around the globe.

Jensen has a background in international sales and business development in the aquaculture sector. In the new role, Jensen will oversee expansion efforts across international markets, focusing on customer relationships, and building strategic partnerships.

"I am honored to join Pure Salmon Technology at such an exciting time in its growth trajectory. I look forward to working closely with the talented team here. I became highly motivated to join the team when I learned about the ambitions and unique offerings that Pure Salmon Technology has to offer. Especially the highly advanced automation and digital solutions, Njord, our dedicated fish welfare department, and our aquaculture academy, which addresses some of the major challenges in our industry right now. I'm looking forward to discussing these and everything else we have to offer with all our dedicated customers,” Jensen said in a release. 

- Edinburgh, Scotland-based algae cultivating company MiAlgae has appointed Chris Haacke as its commercial director. Haacke has an extensive background in aquaculture and the pet food sector, according to Pet Food Nation. 

“Chris has the experience and talent we need to take MiAlgae to the next phase of its growth,” MiAlgae Founder Douglas Martin said. 

Haacke will begin the role effective February 2024. 

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