East Coast Seafood names Bob Blais as new CEO
New Bedford, Massachusettts, U.S.A.-based East Coast Seafood Group has named Bob Blais its new chief executive officer.
Blais, a certified public accountant, joined East Coast affiliate Seatrade in 1998, working his way up to chief financial officer and treasurer by the time the company was acquired by East Coast in 2012. Since that time, Blais has served as East Coast’s chief operating officer, helping to lead the company’s build-out and shift into its lobster- and scallop-processing facility in New Bedford, according to a press release.
The move was made “as part of a planned 2021 transition and the next step in [East Coast’s] strategic evolution for long-term growth,” the company said.
“Bob Blais takes the reins during a pivotal and exciting chapter of the company's history, celebrating 40 years of successful seafood operations while putting COVID-19 in the rearview mirror,” it said. “Under Blais' leadership, East Coast Seafood will continue to expand its global presence in high-end shellfish, retail products, and underutilized fish species, with an ongoing diversification into new markets.”
Blais takes over for CEO Brad Hudson, a principal of East Coast investor Forum Capital who was named to the company’s top position in 2018 following the departure of then-CEO Chris Maze to lead Pescanova USA. East Coast’s board of directors has given Blais the directive of continuing to aim for the company’s objectives identified by Hudson, who will remain an active member of the company’s board, according to the press release.
“Our organization owes a great debt of gratitude to Brad Hudson for his numerous contributions and his very important role in our foundational growth” said Blais, who credited Hudson with minimizing redundancy, streamlining operations, and navigating the company through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other leaders at East Coast include chief financial officer Paul Lacorazza, who will continue to oversee management information systems and technology; Spiros Tourkakis, executive vice president in charge of the company’s Canada and Maine operations; and Steve Musser, the senior vice president of sales and marketing, “who holds a critical role in East Coast's global sales strategy and continues to push the company with new innovations, and is truly a pioneer in many of East Coast's latest seafood programs,” according to Blais.
"I am incredibly honored to be named CEO of a seafood company with a phenomenal legacy over the past 40 years. We have a team of seafood veterans that have worked tirelessly to adapt to ever-changing markets, Blais said. "Steve has been a transformative agent of our company evolution through product and respective species and packaging diversification, as we've seen a shift from predominately food service to an almost 50/50 split with club and retail channels.”
Photo courtesy of East Coast Seafood