On behalf of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO) Board of Directors, it is with great pleasure that we announce Cheryl Smith as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DFO, effective August 19, 2019.
Cheryl is a highly experienced business leader with 30 years of leadership experience including a billion dollar revenue generating business with a team of over 150 employees. She recently retired from Parmalat as a member of the Executive Team and General Manager of the Cheese Division. In her 20 years with Parmalat, Cheryl also led the Yogourt Division; held various Executive Vice President positions such as Sales & Corporate Development, Sales & Marketing, Marketing and Consumer & Trade Marketing; and took on many other leadership roles. Cheryl’s commitment to brand championship and innovation led to the achievement of #1 selling item status in all key dairy categories as well as numerous awards for new products, promotions and advertising. Prior to Parmalat, Cheryl held various marketing roles at Rogers and Unilever. Cheryl has spent most of her career quickly progressing in leadership roles.
In addition to her vast work experience, Cheryl serves on numerous boards, foundations, committees and councils. She is a Director for the Grocery Foundation, on the Grocery Business Senior Leadership Advisory Council and Canadian Grocer Star Women Advisory Committee. Most recently, Cheryl was Chair of the Ontario Dairy Council and on the Board of Governors for Food and Consumer Products of Canada. In the past, she served on the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers Associate Members Council, Kids Help Phone Board and Oakville Community Foundation Board. Through these extensive experiences, Cheryl has contributed to the food industry and community at large.
Cheryl holds a Master of Applied Science degree in Management (MASc) and an honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics (BA), both from the University of Waterloo. She is a Certified Director from the Institute of Corporate Directors, Rotman School of Business, University of Toronto (ICD.D), and has completed industry leadership programs from Unilever (UNAMS) and Lactalis (CLIMBE). Most notably, in 2012 Cheryl was recipient of a corporate executive award being one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women; in 2018, she was recognized as a Star Woman of Grocery; and as just announced, she will receive the Golden Pencil Award, the grocery industry’s highest honour, at a reception in November.
Cheryl is continuously looking for challenges and new opportunities. Since her departure from Parmalat, Cheryl has been accepted to the General Management Program at Harvard. While she will officially start with DFO on August 19th, she will be on a leave of absence with this prior commitment between September 1-27 and October 27-November 16, 2019. We will have an opportunity to engage Cheryl in onboarding activities prior to November 18th, at which time she will have a continuous presence at DFO.
The DFO Board is thrilled to have Cheryl join as our CEO. She is a gifted business leader who has the leadership qualities that will help us realize a dynamic profitable growing Canadian dairy industry. As we face many challenges of the future, we felt having a leader that understands consumers, the food chain and the interconnectivity of our dairy industry has great benefit. Cheryl brings a strong energy yet a humble approach to strategic thinking, relationship building and leadership. She is a forward facing thinker with an acute understanding of the opportunities ahead. We have every confidence that Cheryl will make great contributions to DFO and our industry at large.