Hirshberg to step down as president of Stonyfield

Gary Hirshberg, the visionary co-founder of Stonyfield Farm in Londonderry, has announced that he is stepping down from his role as president and "CE-Yo" of the organic yogurt company.

Hirshberg will remain as Stonyfield's chairman. Walt Freese, former CEO of Ben & Jerry's, will take over the helm of the company on Jan. 23.

Freese, who led the Vermont-based ice cream company as it became a subsidiary of Unilever, has also served as president of tea manufacturer Celestial Seasonings.

Stonyfield was founded in 1983, growing in three decades from a modest organic farming school in Wilton to the world's leading organic yogurt company. In a blog post to explain the move, Hirshberg wrote that Stonyfield was "like a child" to him.

As chairman, Hirshberg said he will be able to bring his message to "a wider national and international audience," by advocating for change in national food and agriculture policies, particularly seeking labeling for genetically engineered foods.

He said he intends to remain "highly involved" with the company — speaking on its behalf and maintaining oversight of its European organic sister companies, the new Stonyfield Cafes and its Profits-for-the-Planet program.


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