(UPDATED, 4:15) Charged with building the company’s sales and building out its sales force, Gordon Robertson is the new chief revenue officer at Goleta, Calif.-based Apeel Sciences.
The company markets a patented plant-derived coating that extends shelf life for organic and conventional produce.
Robertson previously was executive vice president at Bakersfield, Calif.-based Sun World International LLC. He started at
Sun World in December 2008. According to a Sun World news release on recent promotions at the company, Robertson left the company Aug. 3 "to pursue other opportunities."
Before working at Sun World, Robertson was vice president, among other roles, from 1987 to 2008 at Campbell Soup Co.
Apeel Sciences has begun to aggressively commercialize its post-harvest technology.
In June, the company introduced Apeel avocados at Costco and Harps Food Stores, with results the company said included a 65 percentage-point margin increase across hass avocado category and 10% average lift in sales across hass avocado category.
Earlier this month, Apeel has announced $70 million in new financing.
At the same time, Walter Robb, former co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, joined Apeel Sciences’ board of directors.
With recent funding, the company said it is accelerating the company’s scale-up in response to supplier and retailer demand for programs for avocados, citrus, berries, stone fruit and asparagus.
“This is really coming at a pivotal time for our company," said James Rogers, founder and CEO of Apeel Sciences. "And now that we validated the return on investment for our initial customer base and value creation opportunities for plant-derived products, Gordon’s got a really robust set of information that we’re going to use to really scale out our business."
Robertson will work out of the company’s Santa Barbara offices.
Robertson’s experience in leading Sun World’s branded efforts and his experience at Campbell Soup made him an attractive candidate, Rogers said.
“He was really responsible for establishing Sun World as a premium brand at retail and at the same time building the supply base for the brand, working in lockstep between the growers and the retail partners in the ecosystem,” he said.
Robertson’s extensive industry knowledge and connections will help build Apeel’s business, Rogers said.
“Gordon’s charter here is really going to be to lead our strategic branded sales direction, along with the industry relationships,” he said. Robertson will establish the Apeel brand as the natural shelf life extension product for both conventional and organic produce, he said.
Robertson will expand the company’s business through existing product categories such as avocados and citrus and also help bring in additional produce categories in the U.S. and around the globe, Rogers said.
“His (experience), existing industry relationships and the respect that he’s earned in the industry is going to be a major asset for our company, as we continue to deploy solutions into new categories,” Rogers said.
Rogers said Apeel is expanding within the avocado category, with citrus coming online now in commercial applications and solutions for asparagus expected to be unveiled later this year. “He’s got his hands full in terms of the produce pipeline and we’ll be announcing some other categories here shortly,” he said.