Johnson (61), from Wisconsin, has an extensive background in the food industry, having most recently served as president and CEO, Americas, of Swiss chocolate and cocoa giant Barry Callebaut, after spending over 20 years with Kraft Foods, where he served as president of Kraft North America from 2003-2006.
During his nine-year tenure steering Barry Callebaut, Johnson is noted for having nearly doubled the company’s sales volume and profitability, while establishing a strong market position in Latin America.
He retired from the position in August 2017.
Hoping for a turnaround
In November, Aryzta posted a 7% decrease in North America revenues in the first half of its financial year, driven by challenges in its Cloverhill business, as well as a 4.5% negative impact from currency.
The business had to absorb a goodwill write down of €492m ($601.45m), as 800 workers left its Cloverhill Bakery unit after a federal raid raised questions about their employment eligibility.
Meanwhile, Irishman John Heffernan (47) has been named as Aryzta’s new chief strategy officer.
Like CEO Kevin Toland – who resumed his position in September – Heffernan joins the company from DAA, which operates Ireland’s Dublin and Cork airports.
Both executives will also join the Group Executive Committee.
Aryzta is a global food business with a leadership position in speciality bakery. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, the SIX and ISE listed company has operations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
The company reported a full-year loss of €907.8m ($1.1bn) (2.1%) to €3.8bn ($4.6bn) in 2017.