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
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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.
Karl Brown
 – Chief Financial Officer
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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.
Emilio Castillo
 – President, LATAM
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As President of LATAM, Emilio is responsible for leading the business for the Latin American region. He views his 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.
Bob Howland
 – Chief Digital Officer
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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.

Jason Lioy
 – Chief People Officer
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Jason Lioy is Dawn's Chief People 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 Chief People Officer from within Dawn because of his leadership style and work ethic. Jason is married with two sons.

Eric Metzendorf
 – Chief Corporate Affairs & Strategic Partnerships Officer
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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.

Johan Sanders
 – Chief Product Officer
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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.

John Schmitz
 – President, North America
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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.

Scott Thayer
 – Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary
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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.
Steven Verweij
 – President, Europe & AMEAP
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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.