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The Certified Angus Beef ® brand was born of innovation—a spirit that’s spurred four decades of bringing families together from gate to plate. To continue supporting this thriving community and network of premium beef partners, the brand recently evolved its leadership team, recognizing several retirements, promotions and new team members.

“We’ve had a long track record of strong leaders, and that’s true as we look to those who have stepped up to guide our next 40 years,” says John F. Stika, president. “It takes a dedicated and creative group of people to move this brand forward, and I’m excited to leverage the experience and skillset of this team to position our partners from gate to plate for ongoing success.”

This past summer, Mark McCully transitioned from vice president of production after 19 years with the brand to CEO of the American Angus Association®, the parent organization and base of the family farmers and ranchers who own the brand. David MacVane, with 16 years on staff leading meat cutting and retail merchandising, retired as executive vice president of retail in December. Mark Polzer, who helped distributors and chefs offer the branded beef for 22 years, is retiring as executive vice president of foodservice in February.

“While it can be challenging to replace great people, these innovators made significant contributions to the brand and motivated our staff to build relationships with partners,” Stika adds. “I am truly excited about the expertise and dedication of the people leading those endeavors.”

Thirty-three-year veteran Brent Eichar, senior executive vice president of operations and finance, and Tracey Erickson, executive vice president of marketing, with 28 years, continue to anchor the executive team.

Adding perspective to the team is Steve Ringle, executive vice president of business analysis, who has nearly 20 years with the brand in customer service and business development, and Pam Cottrell, senior vice president of people and culture, who for nearly 20 years has focused on nurturing the brand’s high performing and diverse team of employees. Bruce Cobb, executive vice president of production, is joining the team after 14 years as general manager of Consolidated Beef Producers, as well as leadership roles with the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo, Daymon Worldwide, U.S. Meat Export Federation and Texas Beef Council.

In the area of business development, newly appointed vice presidents will focus in three areas, supporting sales growth through strategic planning, delivering customer solutions and developing new opportunities. Sara Scott, with more than 10 years of experience in distributor and restaurant strategy, training and marketing, has been promoted to vice president of foodservice. David O’Diam, now vice president of retail, also brings more than 10 years of meat science, merchandising and training solutions to retailers nationwide. Additionally, Cody Jones builds on his foodservice sales experience and passion for the global marketplace in his new role as vice president of international.

In marketing, vice presidents in four core areas will guide engagement with brand fans and partners around the world through individualized experiences and conversations from gate to plate. Deanna Walenciak has spent 20 years elevating the brand’s marketing and education, and was recently named vice president of domestic brand marketing. Also with more than two decades of experience, Christy Johnson is vice president of branding, leading advertising, research and brand loyalty. Melissa Brewer, who has led communication, public relations and consumer engagement for more than 10 years, is now vice president of communications. Gebran Charbine, who came with experience in Middle Eastern beef and most recently served the brand’s customers in 50 countries, is vice president of international and ethnic brand marketing.