Binotto to take helm at Contessa


Steven Hedlund

Published on
July 19, 2011

Donald J. Binotto, former president and CEO of canned-tuna giant StarKist, is taking the helm at Contessa Premium Foods.

Sun Capital Partners — the Boca Raton, Fla.-based private investment firm that agree to acquire Contessa out of bankruptcy just two weeks ago — made the announcement on Wednesday. Binotto will take over as the San Pedro, Calif.-based seafood company’s president and CEO.

Binotto led Pittsburgh-based StarKist from July 2008 to November 2010, when he was replaced by In-Soo Cho, former president of Pizza Hut Korea. (StarKist has been owned by South Korea’s Dongwon Group since 2008.) Previously, Binotto held executive leadership positions at both Del Monte and the H.J. Heinz Co. (previous owners of StarKist), where he expanded market share, increased sales and reduced overall supply chain costs in pet food, seafood, baby food, fruits and vegetables, according to Sun Capital.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Don, a seasoned executive who brings two decades of industry experience and a strong understanding of the retail and wholesale food business, particularly the seafood niche,” said Jared Wien, VP at Sun Capital Partners. “Given his track record of improving profitability, increasing market share and developing and introducing innovative new products, we are confident that the company and Contessa’s customers will benefit greatly from Don’s expertise and leadership.”

“Contessa Premium Foods was built on a strong foundation of product and manufacturing innovation,” added Binotto. “I look forward to working with the management team to uphold that tradition and improve the company by refocusing the brand and store brand offerings and growing the company both organically and through accretive add-on acquisitions.”

Contessa filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late January.

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