Meet our leaders
Chief Executive Officer
Gary Rodkin, chief executive officer, joined ConAgra Foods in October 2005. Under his leadership, the company has transformed itself from a holding company for dozens of brands and businesses into a unified operating company. The company’s mission is summarized by its purpose statement: “We deliver everyday food in extraordinary ways.”
ConAgra Foods is one of North America's largest packaged food companies. Its balanced portfolio includes consumer brands found in 99 percent of America's households, the largest private brand packaged food business in North America, and a strong commercial and foodservice business.
As part of Gary's No. 1 priority for ConAgra Foods — sustainable, profitable growth — he has led significant culture change. His work in driving simplicity — one of the company's core operating principles — was featured in the December 2007 "Harvard Business Review."
Prior to joining ConAgra Foods, Gary was chairman and chief executive officer of PepsiCo® Beverages and Foods North America, where he led a $10 billion organization that included leading brands such as Pepsi®, Gatorade®, Quaker Foods® and Tropicana®. He joined PepsiCo in 1998 after it acquired Tropicana, where he had served as president since 1995. From 1979 to 1995, he held marketing and general management positions of increasing responsibility at General Mills®, with his last three years at the company as president of the Yoplait® yogurt division.
Gary graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor's degree in economics from Rutgers College and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. He serves on the board of overseers for Rutgers College, is the chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association, serves on the board of directors of Avon® Products and is Chair-Elect of Boys Town®. Gary is also a member of the Strategic Air Command Consultation Committee.
Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary
Colleen Batcheler was named executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for ConAgra Foods in 2009. In this role, Colleen oversees all legal activity for the company. Colleen joined ConAgra Foods in June 2006 as vice president and chief securities counsel and, in September 2006, added corporate secretary responsibilities. She was then promoted to senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary in 2008.
Prior to ConAgra Foods, Colleen was vice president and corporate secretary at Albertson's, Inc., associate counsel with The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and an associate with the law firm of Jones Day®. Her practice has focused on securities regulation, corporate governance issues, executive compensation matters, mergers and acquisitions, and other general corporate matters.
Colleen serves as a member of the board of trustees of Case Western Reserve University, and on the board of trustees of The Omaha Theater Company for Young People. She earned a B.A., magna cum laude, in political science from the State University of New York College at Fredonia, and her J.D. from Case Western Reserve University, where she graduated Order of the Coif and served as executive notes editor of the Law Review.
Al Bolles, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, Research, Quality & Innovation
Al Bolles joined ConAgra Foods in 2006 as executive vice president, Research, Quality & Innovation. In this role, he leads the company's research, quality, and innovation functions and guides the development of new products based on consumer insights and technological best practices.
Al focuses on delivering fewer, bigger and better new products that will add sales to the top line and build consumer loyalty to ConAgra Foods brands. He continues to concentrate on delivering big-bet innovation to the market with flawless execution. Throughout the years, Al and his team have brought new innovative products and ideas to the market that have changed the way people make and eat their food today. To name a few, in 2007, he brought to market a highly successful product extension of the Healthy Choice® brand. Healthy Choice® Café Steamers™ entrees were named as the No. 1 new food item, measured by sales across the grocery store in 2008 by Information Resources, Inc. (IRI). In 2011, he introduced the revolutionary new design of Orville Redenbacher’s® Pop Up Bowl™, the first bag-to-bowl design for Orville Redenbacher's popcorn, which pops into a ready-to-serve, free-standing bowl. Orville Redenbacher’s Pop Up Bowl innovation won several outstanding awards such as Product of the Year from Consumer Survey of Product Innovation in 2012, Silver Edison Award in innovation from Edison Awards in 2012 and Best New Consumer Products Editors’ Pick Award from Progressive Grocer in 2011, just to name a few. Al and his team are also dedicated to the safety and quality of the food we make, working to improve and ensure we have industry-leading food safety standards. Through this great work, our Research, Quality & Innovation team was voted R&D Team of the Year for large organizations by FoodProcessing.com in 2012, as well as the Quality Achievement Award for Manufacturer of the Year by Safe Quality Food Institute (SQFI) in 2011.
Prior to joining ConAgra Foods, Al led worldwide research and development for PepsiCo Beverages and Foods. He has a Ph.D. and master's degree in food science and a bachelor's degree in microbiology, all from Michigan State University. He holds several patents and has won numerous awards for his contributions to the world of food science.
Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
Joan Chow joined ConAgra Foods as executive vice president and chief marketing officer in 2007. Joan was named a Brandweek Marketer of the Year in 2009. In her role, Joan is responsible for leading ConAgra Foods' global marketing team, including integrated marketing planning, advertising, social media, shopper/customer marketing, consumer insights and multicultural marketing.
Joan takes an in-depth focus on marketing for ConAgra Foods brands across the portfolio. Her goals are to build stronger advertising creative, effective media plans, sustainable customer linkage and a strong return on marketing objectives.
Prior to joining ConAgra Foods, Joan was senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Sears, Roebuck & Co. Joan began her career in 1986 at Johnson & Johnson. She earned her M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and her bachelor's degree in linguistics from Cornell University.
Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
John Gehring was named executive vice president and chief financial officer of ConAgra Foods in 2009. As CFO, John oversees the company's finances in entirety. John was senior vice president and controller at ConAgra Foods from 2004 to 2009, with responsibility for accounting, reporting, planning and analysis, financial systems management, and financial shared services operations. He also had financial oversight for the company's Commercial Foods business.
Prior to his controller role, John was senior vice president and interim senior financial officer for ConAgra Foods Retail Products and senior vice president, Internal Audit. Before joining ConAgra Foods, John was a partner with Ernst & Young, serving as the Ohio Valley area business risk services leader. He also held auditing positions with PepsiCo and KPMG Peat Marwick. John earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer
Brian Keck joined ConAgra Foods as executive vice president and chief administrative officer in 2010. In this role, he is responsible for Facilities & Real Estate and Communication & External Relations.
Prior to ConAgra Foods, Brian was president and chief operating officer of Macy's Inc.'s Midwest Division, where he was responsible for sales, customer service, store operations, finance, distribution, human resources, IT, design and construction, and community affairs. Prior to that, Brian held multiple senior leadership responsibilities at the May Department Stores Company (acquired by Macy's) in both operating divisions and corporate-wide roles. From 2000 to 2005, Brian led May's HR function after having served as chairman of Meier & Frank Department Stores, a division of May.
He earned a bachelor's degree from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa., and a master's degree from Syracuse University in Syracuse, N.Y.
President, ConAgra Foods Sales
Doug Knudsen was named president of ConAgra Foods Sales in 2005, providing sales leadership to the entire company, after serving as president of Retail Sales since 2001. In his role, Doug oversees the sale of many consumer-favorite brands, including Healthy Choice, Orville Redenbacher's, Chef Boyardee and Hebrew National.
Doug and his sales team are charged with delivering on the promise of ConAgra Foods' brands by exceeding the expectations of the company's retail and foodservice customers, as well as those of the consumers who purchase ConAgra Foods' brands.
Prior to becoming president of Retail Sales, Doug was president of Grocery Sales for the ConAgra Grocery Products Company, which formerly did business under the Hunt-Wesson name. He began his career with Hunt-Wesson as a sales representative, eventually assuming several senior positions, including vice president and national sales manager, and senior vice president of sales. Doug serves on the sales vanguard committee of the Grocery Manufacturers Association and is an advisory board member of the Computer Science Corporation. He has a bachelor's degree from Illinois State University.
President, Private Brands and Commercial Foods
Paul Maass was named president of the Commercial Foods segments for ConAgra Foods in 2010 and, with the acquisition of Ralcorp in 2013, he assumed responsibility for leading the Private Brands business and was appointed president, Private Brands and Commercial Foods in 2013. The Private Brands business, which is the largest private brand food business in North America, makes and sells private brands to retail customers. The Commercial Foods segment, which includes the Lamb Weston®, ConAgra Mills®, Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings® and J.M. Swank® businesses, makes and sells specialty food and ingredients to restaurants, foodservice operators and other food makers globally.
Paul joined ConAgra Foods in 1988 as a commodity merchandiser in the trading business. Paul quickly progressed in several roles at the company and, in 2003, was named president and general manager of ConAgra Mills. He assumed responsibility for the J.M. Swank food ingredient distribution business in 2007 and, in 2010, began providing leadership for Lamb Weston and Spicetec Flavors & Seasonings in his Commercial Foods president role.
Paul earned a bachelor's degree in Agricultural Business from Iowa State University. He has provided industry leadership through active participation in several industry trade associations; is active in the Omaha community serving on College World Series Inc. Board of Directors and serves as an independent Board of Director for Aurora Algae, Hayward, Calif.
President, Consumer Foods
Tom McGough was named president of ConAgra Foods' Consumer Foods business in 2013. Consumer Foods makes and sells leading branded food to retail and foodservice channels. Consumers can find recognized brands such as Banquet®, Chef Boyardee®, Egg Beaters®, Healthy Choice®, Hebrew National®, Hunt's®, Marie Callender's®, Orville Redenbacher's®, PAM®, Peter Pan®, Reddi-wip®, Slim Jim®, Snack Pack® and many others.
As a 20-year veteran of the branded food business, Tom began his packaged foods career at H.J. Heinz in 1990. He joined ConAgra Foods in 2007 and was named president, Grocery Products, ConAgra Foods in 2011. Grocery Products is Consumer Foods’ largest area of business, including many leading shelf-stable and refrigerated brands. He holds an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer
Andrew Ross was named executive vice president and chief strategy officer for ConAgra Foods in 2011. In his role, Andrew leads the company’s strategic planning process, with specific responsibility for developing strategies that align with the company’s growth ambitions.
Andrew has 20-plus years of experience in developing growth strategies for businesses around the world. Prior to joining ConAgra Foods, he was a partner at McKinsey & Company, Inc., where he led the firm’s global consumer, retail and marketing practices. Prior to that, he worked for William Grant & Sons, Ltd. in Glasgow, Scotland, and McKinsey & Company in London.
A native of Scotland, Andrew earned his Master of Management degree from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management and his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Edinburgh.
Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Nicole Theophilus was named executive vice president and chief human resources officer for ConAgra Foods in 2013. In this role, Nicole oversees the entire Human Resources function for the company. Nicole joined ConAgra Foods in April 2006 as vice president and chief employment counsel, and in February 2007, added responsibilities as vice president of Human Resources for Commercial Foods. And in 2009, Nicole was named senior vice president, Human Resources for the entire company.
Prior to ConAgra Foods, Nicole was a partner in the law firm of Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP. She was initially located in the firm’s Kansas City office, and moved to Omaha in 2001, where she led the Labor & Employment practice of the Omaha office. Nicole earned a B.A. from Drake University, and her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law, where she graduated with honors.