MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO – Canadian dairy cooperative Gay Lea Foods announced its president and chief executive officer, Michael Barrett, informed the board of directors of his plans to retire, effective Jan. 31, 2023.

Per the board, it carried out a global search for Barrett’s successor and chose Suzanna Dalrymple, former general manager for Mars Pet Nutrition Canada, to become Gay Lea’s next president and CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2023.

The dairy manufacturer’s president and CEO since 2014, Barrett first joined Gay Lea 22 years ago. Under his leadership, the cooperative made strategic acquisitions, expanded into Western Canada, constructed a nutraceutical-grade dairy ingredients facility and invested in modernization and expansion projects at existing facilities.

Chair of Gay Lea’s board, Rob Goodwill, said the cooperative “achieved remarkable growth” with Barrett as its leader.

“During his time as CEO, we have transformed our cooperative into a national business while setting it on a strong path toward our next phase of sustainable growth and our shared purpose of enriching communities cooperatively,” Goodwill said.

He added: “I am excited by the opportunities ahead as we look forward to further realizing our potential as a sustainable, growing foods cooperative with Suzanna Dalrymple as our incoming CEO.”

The board shared that the cooperative’s next leader brings with her a reputation for “delivering strong business results while improving capabilities, competencies and team talent.” Dalrymple’s career includes time in senior roles at Mars Pet Nutrition Canada, as well as close to 20 years at Procter & Gamble Canada, where she took on senior roles in brand management and sales.

Dalrymple is scheduled to begin working for Gay Lea and starting the cooperative’s transition phase on Oct. 31.

Gay Lea Foods’ cooperative has members on more than 1,400 dairy farms in Ontario and Manitoba.