Kees de Kat to be New Managing Director at Growers United

Kees de Kat will be the new Managing Director at Growers United. He succeeds Jan Opschoor, who announced last week that he will be leaving at the end of this year. Kees has extensive experience, both on the retail and the manufacturing side. For the past twelve and a half years he has been Managing Director at Coöperatie FruitMasters (FruitMasters Cooperative). De Kat wrapped up his work there before the summer, with the intention of taking a break and considering what his next step would be. As a result, he was available on short notice. Now Jan can train him at the fruit vegetable cooperative Growers United before departing.

Kees got his start as a butcher in the supermarket world, on the store floor. After 20 years, he closed the “shop door” behind him as Buying & Merchandising Director at Super de Boer/Jumbo. He made the switch to the fruit and vegetable world as head of Coöperatie FruitMasters. Here, things were first put in order under the motto “back to basics,” with the interest of the members as the starting point. That meant that the focus was on the highest possible selling price with the lowest possible costs. In recent years, under his leadership, there has been a strong focus on growth and sales diversification. A substantial investment agenda, aimed at automating and robotizing the supply chain, contributed to this growth. During this period he also held various board positions in the horticulture sector.

“When Growers United called recently, I didn’t have to think about it very long. Whilst on the various boards I sat on in recent years, I always looked with appreciation at the energy and strength of the relatively young growers’ cooperative Growers United, always under the motto: “We just get going and do it together.’ Add to that the fact that I would like to contribute to healthy food and a sustainable sector. Working with the members, employees and the board, I hope to be able to work on strengthening the foundation of Growers United in the coming years,” says De Kat.

“With extensive experience both within a large producer cooperative and on the market side, Kees is the right man in the right place, now that the position of our Managing Director is vacant. We are delighted that we were able to find a good successor to Jan so quickly,” says Jack Groenewegen, cooperative chairman of Growers United. “He is results-oriented, has a lot of experience and can take Growers United to the next phase, I am convinced of that,” said Jack.