Sector News

Blue Harvest brings in former High Liner top exec Decker as CEO

January 17, 2018
Food & Drink

Keith Decker, the former CEO of High Liner Foods, is the new top executive of US scallop and whitefish supplier Blue Harvest Foods, according to a statement from the company.

This means industry veteran Jeff Davis is stepping down as CEO and from day-to-day operations at the company, which is part owned by private equity firm Bregal Partners.

“After playing an integral role in building Blue Harvest, it’s time to transfer the helm to the next generation of leadership. I look forward to working on high impact strategic initiatives as the chairman of the board and serving as a resource to Keith and the rest of the Blue Harvest team,” said Davis, in a statement.

“Jeff Davis is a visionary leader within the seafood industry and he was instrumental in building Blue Harvest from an idea to what it is today,” said Scott Perekslis, managing partner and co-founder of New York-based Bregal. “Jeff and I have worked together for nearly two decades, and I wish him and his family the best in his well-deserved retirement.”

Decker, who was replaced by Henry Demone as CEO of High Liner last year, joined on Jan. 16. Before being named CEO, Decker was running High Liner’s US business.

“We are very pleased to have Keith join the company as president and CEO. His experience and expertise are invaluable assets to Blue Harvest as the company looks to the future and seeks to grow further its vertically-integrated premium seafood platform,” said Perekslis.

“I am excited about guiding Blue Harvest on its next phase of growth. The company’s access to world class, wild caught sustainably harvested seafood is on-trend with what consumers want and I believe that there are unique opportunities to better serve our customers,” said Decker, in the release.

Processing consolidation follows M&A expansion
Created by Bregal, Blue Harvest has snapped up a variety of assets on the east coast of the US in the past few years, including the former High Liner plant in New Bedford, Massachusetts, when Decker was still CEO of the Lunenburg, Canada-based firm.

In November last year, Undercurrent News reported that Blue Harvest had finished consolidating its processing activity into the former High Liner plant.

A month earlier, the company closed the former Hygrade Ocean Products plant in the port, having moved its entire scallop and finfish production into the factory at 40 Herman Melville Blvd, Davis told Undercurrent during the 2017 Groundfish Forum in Lisbon, Portugal.

Back in August, Davis said the company was spending $5 million on moving its processing into the former High Liner plant, which it acquired in September 2016, after Undercurrent first reported the prospect of a deal in April.

Blue Harvest acquired Hygrade, which took it into Pacific cod processing, in August 2016. Undercurrent also first reported the Hygrade deal talks.

The company is also looking to acquire two more scallop vessels, after buying Peabody and its fleet of eight vessels in April 2015 and Harbor Blue Seafood in March 2016.

“We are in no hurry to add two more vessels, but it is still in our plans to do so,” said Davis, at the time.

By Tom Seaman

Source: Undercurrent News

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