Christian Maas to replace Derek Figueroa as Seattle Fish Co president

Derek Figueroa and Christian Maas.

Seattle Fish Co. President Derek Figueroa is retiring and will be replaced by the company’s current chief financial officer, Christian Maas.

The Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.-based seafood purveyor announced the move on Friday, 15 February, and it will take effect 22 March 2024.

“I’ve been truly fortunate to have found my calling and passion with Seattle Fish Company. The decision to leave is bittersweet as I truly love the company, the people, and our positive impact on the industry and our communities and have enjoyed the support of Founders and the Iacino family prior,” Figueroa said. “While my passion and affinity for our business has not waned, I’ve had a dream to start my own business, and while there is no perfect time, this is the right time for me to transition. I have enormous respect for Christian Maas, and he will be an impactful leader as Seattle Fish and Lombardi continue to engage our markets and serve as the preeminent distributor in the Rocky Mountain West. I will cherish my time at Seattle Fish over the past 34 years and the many relationships forged, and I will forever be a champion for Seattle Fish, Lombardi, and Founders.”

Seattle Fish Company was sold to Armand Agra, a subsidiary of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada-based Founders Group of Food Companies, in November 2021.

Seattle Fish Company supplies more than 1,400 restaurants and retailers, primarily located in the U.S. Rocky Mountain and Midwest regions, with fresh and frozen wild-caught and farm-raised seafood. The company is “dedicated to fostering sustainable fishing practices, including supporting local aquaculture farms, as well as fishery improvement projects around the world, ensuring that seafood as a healthful protein is available for all, for generations to come,” and is one of 10 members of the precompetitive Sea Pact collaboration, which seeks to drive sustainable practices throughout the U.S. seafood supply chain.

Figueroa was named to the company’s top post in October 2019 after working in a variety of roles for the company beginning in the 1990s. In 1999, he became the firm’s chief financial officer, and in 2007, he was named chief operating officer. He was named president in 2017 and given the CEO title in 2021.

“Within the seafood industry, Derek is widely known as a principled leader and is recognized as a thought leader in seafood and sustainable practices and initiatives in particular,” Seattle Fish Co. said in a press release. “He is also notable for being a co-founder of the nonprofit organization Sea Pact. He has played many leading roles in industry associations, including having served as chair of the National Fisheries Institute and as a board member at the Colorado Restaurant Association, the Colorado Restaurant Foundation, the Seafood Industry Research Fund, Project Angel Heart, and the American Culinary Federation. He has also been honored widely, including by The Colorado Restaurant Association, The Marine Stewardship Council, and Vistage in the last 15 years.”

After laying out a comprehensive strategy for the company in January 2020, Figueroa then led it through a pivot due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As the chair of NFI in 2021, he sounded a positive note for the industry's future.

Maas joined the Founders Group in 2016 as a managing director and has served as president of three different companies within the group.  

“A large part of [the company’s] success has been due to the leadership of Derek Figueroa where his expertise and experience has made Seattle Fish one of the largest seafood distributors in the Western United States,” Maas said. “With Founders’ most recent acquisition of Lombardi Brothers Meats in 2022, I look forward to working together in creating the foundation for success in the decades to come.”

There are no planned changes in customers’ primary contacts with respect to their business with Seattle Fish Co. or Lombardi Brothers Meats, according to the company.

Photos courtesy of Seattle Fish Co.


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