The Dawn Leadership Team

The Dawn Leadership Team is a core group of senior leaders who provide the global strategic direction that shapes our company vision and goals while ensuring key business objectives are consistently met. This diverse team brings together knowledge and insight from the best food companies in the world, along with innovative thinking from other key industries such as automotive, pharmaceutical, retail and many others. Their commitment to encouraging innovation, creativity and diversity in all areas enables Dawn to deliver unexpected solutions that inspire our customers to trust us as their indispensable partner for success.

Carrie Jones-Barber
 – Chief Executive Officer
As CEO of Dawn Foods, Carrie has led Dawn to become one of the world’s premier bakery companies. She is intensely proud of Dawn’s legacy, yet focused on Dawn’s next horizon of international growth in a sustainable and profitable manner. Having started her career in medical sales, Carrie came to appreciate the true value of understanding your products completely and being able to effectively communicate their benefits to customers. This served her well upon entering Dawn in a sales role in the Florida market. She has held various cross-functional roles with progressively increasing responsibility, including CIO, where she oversaw the implementation of the company’s first global ERP system, and President of International, where she successfully led a turnaround. Carrie has introduced significant organizational change at Dawn Foods, including global strategic planning processes and change management best practices. A keen advocate of the Dawn Difference, she is a firm believer that the company’s culture spans geographic and social boundaries. Carrie loves to interact with Dawn’s customers as often as possible and, like she did as a child, enjoys taking her daughter on bakery visits.

“Dawn has the products and people that enable our customers to deliver bakery experiences that are a point of differentiation for their businesses and that will entice consumers again and again.”

Hails from:
 Jackson, MI

Our Greatest Asset: People. I think we do an excellent job in attracting and developing the best people. At Dawn, people can make a difference every day, and our people do.

Our Greatest Challenge: Balancing family culture with growth requirements. It is essential that we maintain the spirit of Team Dawn and the great sense of family, while changing as an organization and ensuring our growth metabolism is founded on processes and structures that maintain profitable growth.

Favorite Sports Team: Northwestern Wildcats. As dangerous as it is in my family to support anyone other than a Michigan team, I got my MBA at Kellogg.

Favorite Baked Good: Tuxedo Vortex Cake

Hobbies: Being with my family. I love cooking food from around the world with my daughter, skiing, bike riding, tennis, reading and traveling.

Favorite Food: Italian – I have a weakness for truffles!

Favorite Travel Destination: Any place with a palm tree and crystal clear water
Karl Brown
 – Chief Financial Officer
As CFO, Karl is the steward of Dawn’s financial health, leveraging his decades of knowledge and international experience to ensure a secure future for the company. Karl leads the financing/accounting, audit, accounts receivable, accounts payable, credit and collections teams. Karl works across regions and functions to improve Dawn’s global management of our capital resources, with the goal of driving efficiencies and improved processes. In his 15 years with Dawn, he has held various financial and commercial leadership roles, most notably being heavily involved in the development and significant growth of our international business. He brings extensive international experience with Dawn and in previous roles with publicly listed companies in the agri-food sector. Karl is married with three children.

“Dawn is at an important point where our global capabilities are developing to facilitate growth and move us forward into true international leadership.”

Hails from:
 South Hampton in the UK (however, I consider myself half Swedish and half English because of my family roots)

Our Greatest Asset: The people within Dawn and the heritage and authenticity in bakery are our greatest assets. We are experts in bakery, meaning our people understand and appreciate the business we are in and excel at sharing that passion and knowledge with our customers and partners.

Our Greatest Challenge: Dawn is now staged to grow to the next level. To succeed at this, we need to prepare our business to hit our growth targets. We can only accomplish this with communication and clarity of our strategy, as well as establishing the right processes and enablers, and I believe we are well on our way to doing this.

Favorite Sports Team: Southampton Football Club “The Saints”

Favorite Baked Good: A good sourdough bread. However, my favorite sweet baked good is a glazed donut.

Hobbies: I enjoy cycling, both road and mountain biking. I try to do this as often as I can, typically two to three times a week. Generally, I am also into sports and music, all genres and sorts, but particularly rock and blues. I also play the guitar.

Favorite Food: Fish and seafood. I try to eat healthy, so lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Favorite Travel Destination: By far, my favorite destination is our holiday home in Sweden. It’s by a lake and a great place to relax and enjoy with my family.
Emilio Castillo
 – President, LATAM
As President of LATAM, Emilio is responsible for leading the business for the Latin American region. He views his première primary opportunity as pursuing regional growth and doing it with the right profitability to achieve the company’s strategic growth plan. Emilio manages more than 600 team members focused on all the functions of the Dawn Foods business and servicing a wide variety of customers. Emilio has been at Dawn Foods for one year. Prior to joining Dawn, he was with Cargill for 11 years as the President of Cargill Mexico.

“I’m eager to provide a global perspective to our business and leverage our strong tradition in bakery to connect with our customers.”

Hails from:
 Mexico City, Mexico

Our Greatest Asset: Dawn’s greatest asset is our expertise around baking that comes from our heritage and time we have been in the bakery business. This tradition allows us to connect with customers in ways that other companies cannot.

Our Greatest Challenge: Also related to our heritage, we need to focus on leveraging that tradition but positioning ourselves for the future. It’s a challenge to remember what makes you unique and at the same time continue pushing into a more global, modern way of engaging our customers.

Favorite Sports Team: Real Madrid

Favorite Baked Good: Croissants

Hobbies: I love to cycle, both mountain and road cycling. I get out as much as I can. I also like to cook (mostly savory), travel with the family and enjoy trying out new foods.

Favorite Food: There is so much to love! I love anything on the grill — but it has to be charcoal, not gas!

Favorite Travel Destination: I enjoy renting a place for my family in the middle of anywhere, without knowing what to expect. I call them “let’s see what we find” vacations.
Bob Howland
 – Chief Digital Officer

Bob Howland is our first ever Chief Digital Officer. This new role reflects the growing importance that digital has for our customers and our company.  Bob has been a pioneer in helping companies adopt ecommerce, engage customers online, and build digital business models. Bob will leverage his leadership, insights and expertise to implement Dawn Food’s long term digital strategy and overall business model so that we can continue our tradition of innovation to support our customers around the world.

Before joining Dawn, Bob was Executive Vice President and General Manager at Blueport Commerce, the leading SaaS Cloud ecommerce platform for furniture, used by the largest retailers in North America to run their omnichannel business. Prior to Blueport, Bob has held executive management positions at various companies with the focus on business transformation and change management.  Bob is married and has 2 daughters.

“In the coming years, I see Dawn continuing to make history in the bakery industry by being the indispensable partner for our customers by offering digital solutions to meet their needs. Ultimately we want to help the industry take advantage of the digital opportunity and keep pace with the rapid digital changes taking place.”

Hails from:   New Jersey // New York

Our Greatest Asset: Being a leader today by driving digital strategy internally and externally.  Working with our regional partners to implement a global change.

Our Greatest Challenge: Digital transformation is a mind shift change. Our success will come from our team members across the organization and our customers adopting this change. Ultimately, our daily interactions with customers will allow the organization to adopt the change. It is all about the people, the processes and technology working together.

Favorite Sports Team:  College hoops (Go Duke!) and the NBA  

Favorite Baked Good:  Croissants

Hobbies:  I treasure time with my family and love to travel.  I enjoy cycling, pilates, live music, movies, discovering new artists and restaurants, and being outdoors

Favorite Food:  Chocolate, sushi, Thai food and many more!

Favorite Travel Destination:  Anywhere with an ocean/sea/lake view.

Jason Lioy
 – Chief People Officer

Jason Lioy is Dawn's Chief Human Resources Officer, responsible for developing our global Team Members for long-term success. Jason helps to build Dawn's culture into one that attracts, motivates, and retains talented employees. An HR leader at Dawn since 2014, Jason's previous roles included global HR leadership and development experience. He was promoted to CHRO from within Dawn because of his leadership style and work ethic. Jason is married with two sons.

“The culture of Dawn is a unique and special attribute that is felt and seen throughout our facilities, and it resonates with customers in their interactions with our Team Members. The Circle of Excellence guides us in what we do. As we move our operations and workforce forward, our history and culture will continue to differentiate us.  

Hails from:  New Jersey

Our Greatest Asset: Our Culture and People. As talent, skills, and technical capabilities become commoditized in the workplace, and our industry, it is our Culture and People that will become our secret ingredient.

Our Greatest Challenge: Building our business for the future, while still embracing our past, and holding on to our culture and values.

Favorite Sports Team: Yankees, Steelers and college football. My wife and my sons are huge Ohio State fans, so I have been adopted into the Buckeye nation.

Favorite Baked Good: Old-fashioned donuts and anything that comes out of a Panaderia.

Hobbies: Being with my family. I love grilling, spending time outdoors, and camping.

Favorite Food: Steak and Italian food

Favorite Travel Destination: I have come to enjoy locations that are “off the grid,” and I love beach spots.  

Eric Metzendorf
 – Chief Corporate Affairs & Strategic Partnerships Officer

Eric has served the bakery food distribution industry for nearly 40 years, in various leadership roles and well over a decade as President of our Bakery Distribution Business Unit. In his current position Eric leverages his knowledge and expertise along with his relationships and operational leadership to drive continued, profitable growth for Dawn Foods globally. Passionate about delivering positive customer journeys, Eric focuses on putting the customer experience at the forefront of all that we do. As a member of the global leadership team, Eric is tasked with growing the Dawn brand externally with industry members, trade associations, and strategic partnerships with key suppliers and customers. He also oversees Dawn’s distributor relationships, drives the company’s global M&A initiatives in this area and facilitates geographic expansion into new markets. Additionally, Eric supports the office of the CEO in enabling functional sharing of best practices across global regions and helps to deliver and reinforce leadership messages to internal teams.  

Eric views the continued evolution of the baking industry as an opportunity for long-term growth and has had a lifelong passion for the bakery business, dating back to his childhood. He started his career at his family's distribution business in New Jersey and joined Dawn in 1990 to start-up a new Dawn Bakery Distribution business in the Northeast market. Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and family. They have two grown sons.

“I am energized by the opportunity that exists for Dawn to grow by enhancing our relationships with our customers through our digital tools that enable us to serve them where and when they need us. We are committed to the success of our customers and endeavor to play a tangible role in helping them grow their businesses”

Hails From: New Jersey (exit 105 Garden State Parkway 😊)

Our Greatest Asset: Our People. Collectively we have thousands of years of experience in bakery and all that it takes to serve bakers. We are passionate and committed to the future of the industry and helping our customers improve their businesses.

Our Greatest Challenge: The disruptive technologies that potentially impacts the dynamics of supply chain. It is vital to Dawn that we continue to value and build genuine relationships with customers.

Favorite Sports Teams: College sports: University of Michigan. Football: NY Giants, Detroit Lions. Basketball: NY Knicks, Detroit Pistons. Baseball: NY Yankees. Hockey: NY Rangers.

Favorite Baked Good: Old Fashioned Sour Cream Cake Donut with a lot of Glaze. I also love the NJ crumb bun.

Hobbies: Bicycling, sailing, working out, hiking, movies, books, theater and being an all-around sports fan.

Favorite Food: Italian Food

Johan Sanders
 – Chief Product Officer

With more than 25 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, Johan has dedicated his career to providing the industry with innovative new ideas and offerings to help companies of all sizes grow their business. As Chief Product Officer, Johan is responsible for Dawn’s R&D and Category marketing globally, prioritizing innovation efforts within Dawn to provide customers with the best bakery products in the business. Since joining the team in 2012 as vice president of R&D in Europe, Johan has led the research and development of multiple Dawn product launches, specifically the Dawn Balance Line, which contains clean label, vegan and better-for-you products. In addition to his focus on product development, he also drives global technology projects to keep Dawn at the front of introducing new industry capabilities both for bakers and within the walls of the company.

Prior to joining Dawn, Johan was the Innovation Director at Sara Lee and also previously held various R&D roles across food product categories at Unilever in the Netherlands and the UK. He holds a masters and a PhD in Molecular Science from the Agriculture University of Wageningen, and an MBA from Rotterdam Erasmus University. 

Hails from
: The Netherlands

Our Greatest Asset: Our products and our partnerships with our customers. Our sales reps and TSRs go above and beyond to ensure we are working hand-in-hand with our customers to deliver the products, insights and expertise they need. 

Our Greatest Challenge: Staying ahead of and knowing the needs of our customers – we must always be thinking about the products and services they require to grow their business, even before they ask for them.

Favorite Sports Team: PSV Union Football Club, my hometown soccer team

Favorite Baked Good: Donuts

Hobbies: In my spare time, I like to run, cook and read. I also enjoy spending time with my wife, Renata, and my daughter, Emma

Favorite Food: I love Asian and fusion style cooking

Favorite Travel Destination: I like to spend time in the mountains. I have been lucky enough to travel regularly and have skied and hiked some of the most beautiful mountains around the world.

John Schmitz
 – President, North America

John Schmitz is the president of North America for global bakery leader, Dawn Foods – based in Jackson, MI. With almost 30 years of experience in the food & beverage and retail sectors, John has a lengthy track record of creating enterprise value and achieving business results globally. In his role, he oversees the strategic direction and business results of the North America Ingredients business, focusing on product development and driving nation-wide technology projects to keep Dawn at the forefront of the industry. John’s strengths include both analytical and strategic thinking as well as creative problem solving to resolve complicated business issues with clarity and innovative thinking.

Prior to joining Dawn, John was vice president, general manager of Land O’Lakes’ International Business, where he oversaw the overall P&L and growth responsibility for the company’s business platforms in Europe, Africa and Latin America for 12 years. He has a Masters in Business Administration from The Tuck School of Business – Dartmouth College and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Minnesota.

“Our greatest asset is our brand. Dawn promises the most innovative and highest quality baking ingredients in the industry, backed up by unmatched baking expertise to help our customers be successful in their operations. We have so much potential as we enter our second century as a company.”

Hails from: Minneapolis, MN

Our Greatest Asset: Our brand. Dawn promises the most innovative and highest quality baking ingredients in the industry, backed up by unmatched baking expertise to help our customers be successful in their operations. We have so much potential as we enter our second century as a company.

Our Greatest Challenge: Finding new ways to engage with our customers. Dawn is privileged to have such a diverse customer base, and our job is to continue to find new ways to meet their needs and exceed expectations as a baking ingredient supplier. Dawn’s goal is to have all of our customers think of us as their trusted business partner. One current example of this is our investment in a digital platform that will bring greater connectivity with our customers.

Favorite Sports Teams: I am a big fan of European soccer. My favorite club is Liverpool in the English Premier League.

Favorite Baked Good: Chocolate croissant

Hobbies: I like to stay active. Cycling is my favorite outdoor activity. 

Favorite Food: I am a big fan of authentic Mexican food. Chicken mole is one of my favorite Mexican dishes.

Favorite Travel Destination: It depends on the time of year. In the winter, I like traveling to the beaches in Mexico.  In summer, I like Colorado and the Rocky Mountains.

Scott Thayer
 – Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary
As Dawn’s first in-house counsel, Scott enjoys providing innovative and creative business solutions that appropriately balance risk with opportunities for growth. Scott is committed to building a best-in-class legal team to ensure that Dawn’s history of excellence in governance continues now and into the future. With more than 30 years of experience with several Fortune 500 CPG and food manufacturers, Scott is excited by the entrepreneurial opportunities at Dawn Foods.

“Working for an entrepreneurial organization is invigorating. We are encouraged to innovate and think collaboratively. There truly is a Dawn Difference!”

Hails from:

Our Greatest Asset: Our people. We have a strong, collegial group who are results-driven and focused on delivering the strategic vision for Dawn Foods.

Our Greatest Challenge: To act and think globally to ensure consistent and sustainable growth.

Favorite Sports Team: Nebraska Cornhuskers, Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks

Favorite Baked Good: Cinnamon Roll

Hobbies: Anything that’s in the great outdoors!

Favorite Food: Fresh fish (preferably caught by me!)

Favorite Travel Destination: Northern woods of Canada / Barcelona
Steven Verweij
 – President, Europe & AMEAP
As President of Dawn Foods Europe and AMEAP (Africa, Middle East and Asian Pacific), Steven’s role is to drive strategic and profitable growth in this region by building strong customer relationships through Dawn’s relevant product portfolio, services, strong innovation and value added concepts — helping to fulfill the mission of growing the Dawn brand globally. Steven joined Dawn in 2014 as vice president of Western Europe. Prior to joining Dawn, Steven spent most of his career with Unilever, where he held positions in International Marketing and International Sales, as well as senior leadership roles. The larger part of his career he worked outside the Netherlands.

“Dawn is making a critical step in its growth strategy by moving to a true global company, because we are committed to taking local market factors and cultural influences into consideration when thinking about serving our customers. By thinking globally while implementing regionally, we will optimally combine global synergies and local opportunities. It will mean a change to the business approach, but I know that Dawn is up to this challenge.”

Hails from: 
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Our Greatest Asset: Our greatest asset is the broadness of our portfolio and the quality of our products, specifically in dry mixes. We provide absolute value in producing the leading mixes that customers around the world appreciate. I also believe that the specific Dawn business model, combining both production and distribution, is a real asset. The core values that stem from a family-run business help us to stand out.

Our Greatest Challenge: We have defined a strong and clear strategy for our global business, and now we must execute it with focus, dedication and 100% excellence. We are moving forward by putting a leadership structure in place and by taking a more cohesive approach to how we view the business. We are thinking globally. This is more complexity, but it will give us huge advantages long term. I know we will succeed.

Favorite Sports Team: Formula One racing, where normally I would support Team Ferrari, but now with Max Verstappen (a Dutch racing talent) joining Red Bull, I have changed.

Favorite Baked Good: Donuts

Hobbies: Beyond working, I enjoy sports like field hockey and tennis, but I hardly have the time for it. So mostly I do running to clear my mind. I typically run a 10K every run, one or two times a week. I also love to work in the garden and spend time with my family.

Favorite Food: Indonesian food

Favorite Travel Destination: I travel so much and therefore I like to be at home with my wife and two children. When I do travel, then I love Spain. I lived in Barcelona for almost seven years and it is my favorite destination.