(UPDATED COVERAGE, Nov. 16) Parker Booth, who joined Organic Alliance Inc., Salinas, Calif., as president in December 2008, has been promoted for the second time in 11 months.
Booth, 54, president and chief operating officer since June, has been named chief executive officer effective Dec. 1. He will retain the title of president.
Organic Alliance, founded 18 months ago, began generating revenues in June 2009, and sales have climbed to $1 million per month, said Tom Morrison, chairman of the board of directors.
The hardest part of starting the business was developing supply, Booth said.
“The best is yet to come. We haven’t hit our stride yet,” he said.
Organic Alliance sells fresh fruits and vegetables — organic and conventionally grown — under the New Directions label to retail, foodservice and consumer packaged goods companies, Booth said. In the future, the focus will be on organic produce, he said.
“Our row crops will be 100% organic, whether from domestic or offshore sources,” Booth said. “We’re looking for year round supply with reasonable, logical pricing.”
This year, about 30% of the company’s fresh vegetables were grown domestically, he said, but the focus is heavily into sourcing from Latin American countries.
“It’s not simply sourcing,” Booth said. “Wherever we source product, we want to have an equity position to be able to help that grower provide the product packed in our label.”
To help develop a grower base, Organic Alliance recently hired Christopher White as director of global supply chain development.
“His experience is beyond his years,” Booth said of White, who joins Organic Alliance from Nexchange Organics, a San Jose-based company he founded. Previously, he was business development director for Fairtrasa International, Uruapan, Mexico, and also was director of Interrupcion Fair Trade, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He began his career in produce as national account manager for TransFair USA, Oakland, Calif.
“Chris is going to help us increase our grower alliance and establish our fair trade and certified organic programs,” Booth said.
Organic Alliance will emphasize the contributions of growers, Booth said.
“It’s important the growers understand that they are a critical part of the supply chain,” he said.
The company’s marketing strategy includes communicating with customers and consumers what the grower does for the supply chain, Booth said. The approach has been a part of Organic Alliance since its founding.
“We started out saying that’s what we’re going to do, and we’re going to be darn good at it,” Booth said.
Prior to joining Organic Alliance, Booth was president of Ace Tomato Co. Inc. and Delta Pre-Pack Inc., two of the Lagorio family of companies headquartered in Manteca, Calif. Previously he was with Fresh Express Inc., Salinas.
Morrison is stepping down as chief executive officer, but remains as board chairman. Booth also serves on the board, a position to which he was elected simultaneous with his June promotion.