Driscoll's, a leading distributor of fresh berries based in Watsonville, CA, has appointed Tom O'Brien to the newly created role of senior vice president of governance and external engagement and general counsel. O'Brien will join Driscoll's Global Leadership Team reporting to Kevin Murphy, president and chief executive officer.
Most recently, O'Brien was the principal in his private practice, which primarily represented food companies, trade associations and promotion boards.He was the Produce Marketing Association's legislative representative in Washington, DC, and also worked on matters such as food safety, organics, domestic and foreign plant pest regulation, trade and labeling.
"I am very excited to have Tom join Driscoll's in this new capacity," Murphy said in a press release. "He is more than qualified for the new post, having worked with us as outside legal counsel for more than a decade. His experience in the agricultural industry, extensive background, including particular strength in the regulatory and compliance area, and strong industry relationships will be of prime importance as we strive to become the world's foremost producer of fresh berries."
O'Brien will work closely with senior management as he oversees and endeavors to integrate such areas as contract negotiation, regulatory compliance, government affairs, corporate governance and the enforcement of the company's intellectual property.
"As Driscoll's expands and pursues its vision of becoming the world's berry company, our environment is becoming ever more complex," Murphy added in the press release. "The expansion into more countries requires us to increase our focus on an ever-growing body of laws, governance, compliance and regulations. Working with Tom, we are confident that we will achieve our goal to not only meet these requirements but do it in a way that is consistent with Driscoll's values and mission."
Earlier in his career, O'Brien was a senior official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service and an adviser to California Gov. Gray Davis.