Harry Overly

Sun-Maid President and CEO Harry Overly is transitioning to executive chairman. Graphic by Cynthia Padilla

published on August 22, 2022 - 10:31 AM
Written by Frank Lopez

Sun-Maid Growers announced early Monday a major shakeup in its executive ranks.

Sun-Maid President and CEO Harry Overly will move to a new role as executive chairman as he takes on new responsibilities outside of the company, effective Sept. 14, according to a news release.

Current Sun-Maid Chief Financial Officer Braden Bender will be appointed interim president as Overly works with the board on an executive search and to finalize the company’s CEO succession plan.

“Harry is a considerate and ambitious leader and we’re fortunate to have had him lead our company over the last five years,” said Steve Kister, chairman of the Sun-Maid board of directors. “We’re thankful for the leadership, vision and outstanding performance Harry brought to Sun-Maid. I’m very pleased that Harry will continue to work with our board as Executive Chairman, to continue the momentum he’s established.”

Overly will continue to work with the board of directors and senior leaders to ensure a smooth leadership transition, providing oversight and continuity in the company’s growth strategies as executive chairman of the board, according to the release.

Overly took on the role of president and CEO of Sun-Maid in 2017.

In 2019, Overly oversaw the relocation of Sun-Maid Growers corporate headquarters from Kingsburg to Fresno. Last year, Overly spearheaded the company’s first-ever acquisition — an organic baby food brand named Plum Organics — from Campbell Soup Co.

Early in his tenure at Sun Maid, some of Overly’s initiatives, including lowering baseline prices for raisins, were met with hostility. In fact, he received death threats, as he recounted in a 2019 New York Times article

Under Overly’s leadership, Sun-Maid surpassed multiple company sales records as the iconic Central Valley institution continues an aggressive expansion, according to the release.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to lead the Sun-Maid organization. I’d like to thank the Board of Directors, each and every grower-member and employee for their support as we transformed this beloved business and iconic brand to be more relevant to today’s shoppers,” said Overly. “While I’m personally excited for my next adventure within the better-for-you snacking space, which will still be involved with growers here in California’s Central Valley, the Sun-Maid family will always be important to me.”

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