The board of directors of Berry Plastics Group Inc. announces that Thomas E. (Tom) Salmon has been unanimously elected as Berry’s president and chief operating officer. In his role, Salmon will be responsible for the company’s operating businesses, operations, supply chain and procurement. Salmon previously served as president of the company’s consumer packaging division.

Berry Plastics also announces that its chairman and CEO, Jonathan D. Rich, has informed the Board of Directors of his intention to retire as CEO effective February 2017. Upon his retirement, Rich will continue to serve as executive chairman of the board.

“The creation of the president and chief operating officer role is the next step in our ongoing succession process. Tom’s background, experience and track record of success leading multiple Berry divisions throughout his career with the company make him eminently qualified to take on this important leadership role,” says Rich. “Berry is well positioned to continue the success we have achieved since our IPO in 2012. The company has a strong leadership team and the time is right for the next generation to take Berry into the future. I look forward to continuing my role with the company as executive chairman.”

Salmon, age 53, joined Berry Plastics in 2007 with Berry’s acquisition of Covalence Specialty Materials where he had led the Adhesives Division for four years. From 2007-14, he served as President of Berry’s Engineered Materials Division, prior to being appointed President of Berry’s Rigid Closed Top Division in 2014 and President of Berry’s Consumer Packaging Division in 2015. Before joining Covalence, Salmon was General Manager of Honeywell Plastics and Global Sales Director for Allied Signal’s Engineering Plastics and Films. He began his career with General Electric and held a variety of commercial positions during his 12 years in GE’s plastics and lighting divisions.

“I’m excited to take on this new role as Berry’s President and Chief Operating Officer,” says Salmon. “I look forward to continuing Berry’s long history of delivering value to our customers and shareholders while providing great opportunities for our employees and the communities where we are located.”

Commenting on the management succession, Ronald S. Rolfe, chairman of the nominating and governance committee of the board of Berry Plastics says, “The committee and the board have conducted a thorough assessment of both internal and external candidates. On behalf of the Board, I congratulate Tom on his new role and look forward to the Company’s continued success in the years ahead.”

Rich, age 61, has been the company’s chairman and CEO since October 2010. Prior to this role, Rich served as president and CEO of Momentive Performance Materials. Prior to Momentive, he held executive positions at Goodyear Tire and Rubber, including president of Goodyear North American Tire and president of Goodyear Chemical. Rich began his career at General Electric in 1982, where he was employed for nearly 18 years in a variety of R&D, operational and executive roles.