Sargento Announces New Leadership Changes Amid Two Long-Term Executives’ Retirements

PLYMOUTH, Wis. — Sargento, the Wisconsin-based leader in cheese, has announced third-generation family owner Mike McEvoy’s retirement from his position as Executive Vice President of Operations at Sargento. Sargento has also shared news of Kristi Jankowski’s retirement from her long-held position as Executive Vice President of Innovation. On the heels of these two esteemed colleagues’ retirements, Chief Executive Officer Louie Gentine has appointed Michael Pellegrino to Chief Operating Officer.

Combined, Mike and Kristi bring more than 50 years of exceptional contributions to Sargento. They will continue to provide strategic counsel by staying on as advisors to the senior leadership team through the end of the year. 

Mike McEvoy joined the family-owned cheese brand in 1997. Over the years, Mike has held a variety of positions at Sargento, including Trade Promotion Manager, Marketing Manager, Vice President of Sales, President of Food Ingredients Division and has led the Operations Team since 2013. As part of the third generation of the company’s family ownership, Mike has overseen more than $600 million of capital expansions while demonstrating care and compassion for the Sargento Family of employees.

Kristi Jankowski has been with Sargento since 1999. Under her leadership as EVP of Innovation the past 14 years, Kristi and her team have generated almost $3 billion in revenue for the company while enhancing its reputation as a category-leading innovator. Kristi and her team have earned the prestigious Nielsen Breakthrough Innovation award for Sargento Ultra-Thin Slices® natural cheese, Sargento Balanced Breaks® and Sargento Balanced Breaks ® Cheese & Crackers. She led the company’s Idea Center where Sargento employees can share their ideas that aid in the development of Intellectual Property. This program has generated numerous patents and trade secrets; developed technical capabilities for the company and Sargento employees. 

Michael Pellegrino joined Sargento in 2009. During his tenure he has held various executive positions including his most recent role as President and Chief Growth Officer. In his newly appointed role as Chief Operating Officer, Michael’s expanded responsibilities will include leadership for the Business Units (Consumer Products and Food Service & Ingredients), Operations, Innovation, Sales, Supply Chain and Strategic Planning. During his tenure, Michael and his team have accelerated the growth of the Sargento brand to become a national market-share leader in the retail cheese category. He has also led best-in-class integrated marketing campaigns that have made Sargento one of the most recognized brands in the dairy case.

“The Sargento Family and I have been blessed to have the leadership and companionship of Mike and Kristi. We’re grateful for their years of service and for the continued advisory roles they will hold through 2024,” said Louie Gentine, CEO of Sargento. “We also look forward to a successful road ahead with Michael Pellegrino as our Chief Operating Officer. Based on his proven track record, we know he will deliver against our ambitious growth plan while realizing our vision to the most innovative, best-loved real food company.”

About Sargento
With over 2,500 employees and net sales of nearly $1.8 billion, Sargento is a family-owned company that has been a leader in cheese for more than 70 years. Founded in 1953 in Plymouth, Wisconsin, Sargento is proud to be the company that successfully introduced America to pre-packaged sliced and shredded natural cheeses and cheese blends. Today, Sargento is still based in Wisconsin, where they make and market amazing, high-quality shredded, sliced and snack natural cheese products, as well as ingredients. Company leadership lives to serve local communities and employees, whom they refer to as the Sargento Family.