Ingredion's CEO Ilene Gordon announced she'll retire from the company next year, and James Zallie will take over the CEO role on Jan. 1. Gordon will serve as executive chairman from that point until her July 2018 retirement, concluding her eight-year-plus run. During her tenure, Gordon realigned the Westchester, Ill.-based global ingredients company with changing consumer tastes, and positioned it for growth. When Gordon joined the company, shares sold for about $25. On Monday, they closed at $125.59, up 75 cents from Friday.
Zallie, 56, currently executive vice president of global specialties and president of the Americas business for Ingredion, was selected by the company's board of directors. He has been with the company since 2010, and currently serves as president of the firm's Americas unit and executive vice president, global specialties. "The responsibility of the board is to select the most qualified candidate to lead the company," Gordon said Monday, (Sept. 18). "We feel very confident that Jim is the right person to lead Ingredion forward."
With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, Zallie was president and CEO of the New Jersey-based National Starch before Ingredion — then known as Corn Products International — acquired his company in 2010. Zallie has since helped grow the business of specialty starch ingredients globally, Gordon said. He also developed and executed a comprehensive strategy focused on asset productivity, people capability and development, innovation and core renovation and emerging markets growth. During his stay, compound annual sales at National Starch grew by double digits.
Ingredion used to be known for making high fructose corn syrup, the ubiquitous sweetener that some consumers have turned against in recent years. Since Gordon came aboard in 2009, the company has diversified its portfolio of ingredients through acquisitions and developing new products.
Ingredion reported about $5.7 billion in revenue last year.
After the acquisition of National Starch, she rebranded the company and repositioned it as a global ingredient maker that's increasingly working with large food and beverage companies to evolve with changing consumer trends.