Freshpet manufacturing leader to retire; transition planning detailed

Freshpet Inc., the Secaucus-based pet food company, said Monday it will undergo a transition in its manufacturing leadership, as Stephen Weise, executive vice president of manufacturing & supply chain, will be retiring at the end of 2022.

Weise will lead incremental production capacity planning and other responsibilities through the end of the year, then focus on incremental capacity planning during 2022. Chris Taranto, vice president of supply chain, will assume responsibility for Freshpet’s logistics operation, while Ricardo Moreno, vice president of manufacturing, will maintain oversight of manufacturing operations at Freshpet Kitchens. Both will report to CEO Billy Cyr.

“No single person could replace what Steve has done for Freshpet, and we are so grateful for his many years of service,” Cyr said in a prepared statement. “During his tenure, we have grown our net sales by almost 4x, and, by the time he fully retires next year, we will have installed more than $1 billion in net sales capacity. We are incredibly grateful to him for his leadership and willingness to help our organization execute an orderly transition during this important time in our growth cycle.

“Ricardo Moreno, whom we hired last year as a key part of our succession planning, is now fully prepared to take on all the day-to-day manufacturing operations as VP of manufacturing, and Chris Taranto, VP of supply chain, will add logistics to his responsibilities. We are fortunate to have built a deep bench that has the capability to step into these important roles while Steve will retain responsibility for long-term capacity planning until his full retirement at the end of next year.”