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Bumble Bee's growth officer says "bold and courageous" transformation ahead

Putman said company plans to build a positive legacy.

Bumble Bee Food's newly-hired executive vice president and chief growth officer is working on a "compelling new vision" for a company still reeling from its former CEO's ouster following his alleged involvement in a massive conspiracy to fix prices of canned tuna sold in the United States.

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"We know we have to transform our business in bold and courageous ways and we’re starting that process now," Todd Putman told IntraFish. "There is no lack of enthusiasm, engagement or ideas among the employees. We know we need profitable growth in both the short- and long-term, and everyone is onboard."

Putman said recent leadership changes are providing Bumble Bee the opportunity to re-define its strategic plan.

Bumble Bee's former CEO Chris Lischewski stepped down in May following a US District Court decision that handed him a a one-count felony indictment, alleging he carried out a conspiracy by agreeing to fix the prices of packaged seafood during meetings and other communications.

Jan Tharp, who has served as the company's chief operating officer (COO) for the last six years, assumed the role of interim CEO of Bumble Bee following his departure.

That's one of the reasons Bumble Bee recently hired Bulldog Drummond, a San Diego-based creative and design agency, to guide the iconic tuna company through a strategic transformation that Putman said "will roll out over the next year and help reposition our organization for success through identifying long-term vision and growth strategies to guide brand identity, company culture and future innovations and/or potential acquisitions."

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Putman didn't go into detail about future changes to Bumble Bee's company culture or potential acquisitions but did acknowledge it will be "something bigger in the near future that will excite, engage and motivate our employees, business partners and customers."

In the low margin competitive canned tuna business, Bumble Bee has looked for ways to expand its product range and revenue streams.

Three years ago, Bumble Bee Seafoods-owned Anova Food launched the world’s first Fair Trade certified seafood product – Indonesia artisanal handline caught yellowfin tuna – in US grocery stores. In 2013 the company entered the frozen seafood world with its SuperFresh brand, a once-frozen, all-natural line with no coloring, no preservatives and five to eight ingredients.

Bumble Bee Foods' Senior VP of Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility Dave Melbourne said canned and pouch tuna is well positioned to grow at Tuna 2018 in Bangkok in late May.

In 2016 Bumble Bee's branded portfolio of canned solid white albacore tuna in water and in oil became Non-GMO Project Verified.

Alongside brand innovations and sustainability efforts, Bumble Bee has been battling the backlash of a price-fixing scandal since 2015, when a grocery cooperative filed a lawsuit against major manufacturers that included the company.

"Stay tuned because a core part of our go forward business plan will include an enhanced commitment to changing our world in a way that is relevant and meaningful to our employees and customers," Putman said.

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