Peter Pan’s Barry Collier steps down as CEO as company continues executive hiring push
Peter Pan Seafood Company has announced its CEO, Barry Collier, will step down and transition into an advisory role with the company, and its hiring of three new senior leaders.
Peter Pan President and Chief Growth Officer Rodger May “will continue to lead the company alongside a growing team of skilled industry professionals, including vice president of operations Jon Hickman,” the company said in a 30 March press release.
Peter Pan hired former Silver Bay Seafoods COO Jon Hickman to serve as its vice president of Alaska operations in January 2021, and lured Kevin Larsen away from Bornstein Seafoods earlier this month to serve as its vice president of international sales and business development.
The company also announced the hiring of Mark Foster, Steve Minor, and Jonathan Thorpe to its finance, development, and sourcing teams, respectively, on 30 March. Foster will serve as Peter Pan’s chief financial officer, Minor has been appointed manager of business development, and Thorpe’s title was not announced, but the company said he will be “working to increase access to swimming resources through investment, strategically aligned partnerships, and direct sourcing, in addition to developing downstream products and customers.”
“Jonathan has been involved in several merger and acquisition transactions and he knows how to source and analyze opportunities. He has worked with finance, operations, sales, product development, procurement and fleet,” May said. “His extreme amount of industry knowledge, plus nearly a decade working as a certified public accountant, Jonathan brings so many strengths and a ton of great energy to our dynamic Peter Pan team.”
McKinley Management CEO Rob Gillam said Foster and Minor are known assets that will enhance the company’s senior leadership team.
“They are both innovators, they look at how things are done and think, ‘Is there a way we can do that better, add more value, be more efficient?’” he said. “They aren’t just checking a box because that’s the way something’s always been done, and that fits in with our mission and values for Peter Pan.”
The moves are coming quickly for Peter Pan, which came under new ownership in January 2021, with Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.-based Northwest Fish and Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.A.-based McKinley Capital Management beating out Trident Seafoods, Canfisco, and Silver Bay Seafoods. The company’s ownership group said it has committed to turning Peter Pan into a “vertically integrated seafood company with a focus on value-added sales channels combined with the legacy of a storied seafood processor in Alaska.”
Foster has been serving in a consulting position for Peter Pan in recent months, according to the company. He previously worked in senior roles with Alaska Communications Systems.
“When I can go to big box and national retail stores and buy Peter Pan product, knowing all the people behind that product and the work they put into it, that’s special,” said Foster. “What made me excited about joining the team is that there are already a lot of talented people here throughout the organization, and the new ownership group who are passionate about seafood as an industry because of what it can do for people – from the people who eat seafood because it’s a healthy choice to the people who work in this industry because it’s a good job.”
As manager of business development, Minor will explore “the potential development of new resources, community development, and more,” the company said. He has worked in a variety of positions in the seafood industry, including stints with Unisea, Golden Harvest Alaska, Ocean2Table, Central Bering Sea Fisherman’s Association, and the North Pacific Crab Association.
“It’s an exciting time at Peter Pan. It’s a world-class company recently back under U.S. ownership, and not just U.S. but Alaska ownership,” Minor said. “I really believe the next stage of development in the industry in Alaska is more value-added products being produced here, and the new ownership group believes in that, too. I’m excited to be working alongside so many other smart and talented people committed to development within an industry with such a storied history.”
Thorpe previously served as CFO and chief investment and strategy officer for the Central Bering Sea Fishermen’s Association, as the executive vice president of market development for Blue Harvest Fisheries, and as the executive vice president of resource development for Mark Foods. He has also served on the North Pacific Fishery Management Council and the International Pacific Halibut Commission of behalf of the companies he has worked with.
“In the seafood industry, people and businesses earn their history, Peter Pan is one of those great stories. That, coupled with the new ownership group, made up of creative thinkers coming together to say, ‘How can we be different, do something unconventional, let’s grow past where we are today.’ It’s great to see,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to how this new team can use our diverse knowledge and experience to let this opportunity flourish. There are already many good, hard working people here that are ready to thrive.”
While Collier will no longer serve as the company’s CEO, he will remain involved with Peter Pan as a senior advisor to the company’s ownership group.
“When you work in seafood you really get to know other people in the industry and even before I became a part of Peter Pan, Barry is someone I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and working for the last few decades,” May said. “I truly admire who he is as a leader and his commitment to Peter Pan over the last 30 years. Barry played a key role in ensuring that the ownership transition earlier this year was smooth and efficient and we’re glad to have his trusted voice in his new role on our senior advisory board.”
Photo courtesy of Peter Pan Seafoods