New Pipeline Foods chief executive Anthony Sepich has been handed the challenge of “setting the overall stage to double or triple the size of the company,” he told Agri Investor.
Sepich added that former CEO Eric Jackson, who now acts as chairman of the business, “originally envisioned deploying $300 million-$500 million, and we still believe that is a great target as we uncover new customer demand and acquisition targets on weekly basis.”
Pipeline Foods was established in 2017 by AMERRA Capital Management and Pipeline Opportunity Partners, with the goal of creating sustainable global agricultural supply chains.
The company has so far focused on organic and non-GMO supply chains in North America, acquiring several supply chain assets including SunOpta’s organic corn and soy business in a $66.5 million deal in March 2019.
Other acquisitions have included an Iowa grain elevator from Archer Daniels Midland and a North Dakota grain elevator. The company has also invested in expanding the capacity of its Missouri organic soy facility, and worked with banking partners to develop a finance program to help farmers transition from traditional to organic crops.
“Most of those items were quick wins and tactical changes to the business to capture the low-hanging fruit,” Sepich said. “We are now in the phase of executing on the mid-range to longer term initiatives that involve more strategic decisions, but really move the needle for the company in terms of profitability.”
Another big part of Sepich’s role will be “leadership and talent development throughout the organization,” he said, as Pipeline is still less than three years old and the team “is still learning how to come together as one culture.”
The new CEO joined from minerals company Compass Minerals where he spent the last three years and was senior vice-president. Prior to that, he spent 19 years at Archer Daniels Midland, where his most recent role was European president for corn.
One of the areas he is personally looking forward to making his mark on at Pipeline Foods, said Sepich, is on company culture.
“Start-ups are often moving at warp speed and don’t have the time or resources to invest in culture creation. Over time, company culture creates or erodes value. You have to intentionally and diligently craft value-creating culture,” he said.
“There is also some work to be done in terms of creating the right structure for the commercial team to win. There are talent gaps that need to be filled in short order in order to accelerate the realization of our corporate goals, and I plan on putting a lot of focus on filling these gaps with the help of Pipeline’s excellent leadership team.”