Ritterbush – who most recently served as president and CEO at Quest Nutrition – has also served as CEO of popchips and Premier Nutrition Corp, VP and general manager of Red Bull North America, and SVP marketing at Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream.
“Now is the perfect time in the company’s evolution for this next step,” said Steltenpohl, who co-founded Califia Farms in 2010 and has since raised $340m+ over four funding rounds to build his plant-based empire.
“We were committed to finding the right person to serve as our next CEO, and I couldn’t be more excited to hand over the reins to such a talented and well-respected leader.”
‘A turning point for our company…’
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco in January, Steltenpohl would not comment on whether an IPO was on the cards for Califia Farms, but added: “Were the company to become part of a larger dairy organization where 80 or 90% of the portfolio were animal-based, it would be hard to lead the plant-based revolution.
“I personally still think the market still needs mid-size companies like ours that are close to our entrepreneurial roots and we can really act on our convictions and stay focused.”
Speaking to us in May, Steltenpohl said grocery sales had increased significantly during the pandemic, with particularly strong growth in oatmilk: “We’re also up in the extreme triple digits on e-commerce and we are now EBITDA positive [ie. profitable at an operating level] as we’ve been able to optimize some of our production efficiencies, so this is really a turning point for our company.”