Pacific Coast Producers

A Controller to Fit the Present and Future

CLIENT:
Founded in 1971, Pacific Coast Producers is the largest producer of private label canned fruit and tomato products in the United States.  If you have purchased private label canned fruit, canned tomato products, or fruit cups from any big box store or supermarket chain, odds are it was “canned fresh” by Pacific Coast Producers at one of several northern California facilities.

THE CHALLENGE:
Pacific Coast Producers has a long history of promoting from within and long tenures in its senior management.  When their controller of over 20 years retired about two years after the retirement of their longtime CFO, the company’s CFO needed a controller who could not only manage the accounting operations of this large and complex processing operation, but also have the global business vision and insight to eventually be a strong CFO candidate.

There are many talented controllers who perform their jobs superbly but not all have the potential to succeed as a CFO.  Further, the company preferred someone without a lot of job changes, but who would, of course be able to see the opportunities offered by joining the PCP team.  These very real needs reduced the pool of potential candidates but the willingness of the retiring controller to stay on for several months and help with the transition allowed for inclusion of less traditional controller candidates.

"After many less than satisfactory experiences with various recruiting firms, we gave Morrison & Co the opportunity to assist us with our Corporate Controller job search and were extremely happy with their extensive industry contacts and unique recruiting process. The Morrison team presented us with multiple qualified candidates which allowed us to select and hire a highly talented Corporate Controller for our job opening." -

Matt Strong, CFO, Pacific Coast Producers

THE PROCESS:
Morrison & Company determined the technical needs and best cultural fit for Pacific Coast Producers by interviewing the CFO, CEO, vice presidents of sales and operations, and the retiring controller.  Direct contacts were made to professionals we know who we believed were potential fits as well as hundreds of other direct contacts who were likely referral sources.

After screening dozens of potential candidates, we reviewed our five top choices with the CFO, and all five were brought in for interviews, with which we participated.  Two were brought back for interviews with the executive team and others, and an offer was accepted by the finalist selected. 

THE RESULTS:
Pacific Coast Producer’s new controller was a senior manager with 12 years’ experience at one of the region’s largest CPA firms; he was both known to us and referred by a trusted professional contact.  With a client base almost exclusively in food and agribusiness, he has both a depth and breadth of experience in the food industry.  While not having previously served as a controller he brought the “big picture” and stellar accounting expertise; the willingness of the previous controller to overlap for an extended period allowed for time to come up to speed on the daily details of a controller’s position.  The fit, in the words of both the company and the controller, has been “perfect.”

"Morrison clearly understood the company, the industry, and the position.  I did not feel like I was being sold as with typical recruiters but rather given an honest assessment of the opportunity and how it fit my career goals.  They seemed to care about the company and me, not a commission.  I was kept in the loop and if a time for a call or meeting was set and commitments were made, they were kept.  Had I not gotten the job I would not have been as disappointed as I might otherwise have been as I felt the process was open, straightforward, without fluff, and less stressful than one might expect.  I also liked getting to know Morrison & Company; they are not just recruiters and serve the industry with many other services.  I hope we stay in touch." - 

Zeb Rocha, Controller, Pacific Coast Producers