Mark Jansen has been selected by the Blue Diamond Growers Board of Directors to replace Doug Youngdahl, retiring President and Chief Executive Officer.

Jansen will officially join Blue Diamond Oct. 4 and will address the cooperative's centennial annual meeting Nov. 18 at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, Calif.

Youngdahl will retire at the end of 2010.

Prior to accepting the Blue Diamond post, Jansen was president of Schwan's Food Service, Inc., a division of the Schwan Food Co., a multibillion-dollar, family-owned company.

"Mark brings to Blue Diamond a unique understanding of retail and consumer brands," said Clinton Shick, Blue Diamond board chairman and a grower in McFarland, Calif.

"He led a profitable turnaround of the Schwan Foodservice Division and is a proven brand-builder who influenced substantial growth for Haagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Totino's, Pillsbury, Red Baron, Freschetta, Wolfgang Puck, Tony's, and Minh," Shick said.

Jansen received an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University. Prior to joining Schwan, he worked for the Pillsbury Co., Edison Brothers Stores, Inc., and General Mills.

Blue Diamond is owned by over half of California's almond growers.