Plenty, the flavor-first vertical farming company with a mission to improve the lives of people, plants and the planet, today announced the appointments of Ann M. Livermore and William R. Johnson to its board of directors, effective immediately. Livermore brings extensive experience advising organizations during periods of sustained growth and change. Johnson served as the chairman, president and CEO of H. J. Heinz for over 15 years, where he oversaw the company’s accelerated global growth. He brings unparalleled expertise in consumer packaged goods and the food and agriculture industries.
“The experience and wisdom that Ann and Bill bring to the Plenty board will be critical as we work to grow our platform and increase production to provide fresh, and delicious food to more consumers,” said Plenty co-founder and executive chairman, Matt Barnard. “They will help ensure that our mission is supported and advanced through best practices in governance and corporate stewardship.”
Ann Livermore is a pioneering technology executive, often named one of the most powerful women in business. She began her career with Hewlett-Packard Company in 1982 and retired as an executive in 2011. That year, she joined the Hewlett-Packard board of directors, and, after the company split, transitioned in 2015 to the board of the Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company. She has served as a director on Qualcomm’s board of directors since October 2016 and on United Parcel Service’s (UPS) board of directors since 1997. She currently sits on the board of directors for D2iQ. She spent 9 years on the board of the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, having retired in 2019. Ann is a lecturer at Stanford Graduate School of Business, and she holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MBA from Stanford GSB.
“Plenty represents the future of food and is a high-growth, essential business that I’m excited to join,” said Livermore. “The company’s technological innovations have important implications for ensuring food safety, reducing waste, and meeting increasing demands on the supply chain for fresh produce. Plenty has proven that vertical farming has a place in agriculture.”
Bill Johnson’s career with Heinz spanned 31 years. Eventually serving as the fifth Chairman in the 144-year history of the company, he first joined Heinz as a general manager and worked his way up to president and CEO. In 2011 he was named CEO of the Year for the Global Food and Beverage Industry and he was the recipient of the inaugural Global Visionary Award from Helen Keller International for Heinz’s micronutrient program for combating childhood anemia. He also received the Marco Polo Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Chinese government on foreign business leaders, for Heinz’s support of the development of the Chinese food industry.
Johnson is Chairman of the Board of Directors of UPS and a board member for Neighborhood Health Clinic in Naples. He is an Operating Partner with the private equity firm Advent International and serves as Chairman of Sovos Brands, an investment vehicle for food and beverage acquisitions.
“I have long been passionate about promoting the availability of quality, nutritious foods around the world, and Plenty’s approach to providing sustainable, affordable produce in the communities it serves is primed to be the next evolution of agriculture,” said Johnson. “I’m excited to lend my insights and expertise as a member of Plenty’s board, and look forward to exciting growth in the future.”
Plenty is an American farming technology company that frees agriculture from the constraints of weather, seasons, time, distance, pests, natural disasters, and climate. The company’s plant scientists, engineers and farmers have developed its indoor vertical farming technology to manufacture nutrient-rich and pesticide-free plants with extraordinary flavor. Plenty farms deliver 1500 acres of farmland in an equivalent space of a big box retailer, saving one million gallons of water per week. Plenty’s flagship farm and headquarters are located in South San Francisco, and the company operates the largest of its kind Research and Development farm in Laramie, Wyoming. Plenty is currently building the world’s highest-output, vertical, indoor farm in Compton, California.