Andrei Mikhalevsky.gifCalifornia Dairies Inc. (CDI), the nation's second largest dairy processing cooperative, and its board of directors today announced the appointment of Andrei Mikhalevsky as president and chief executive officer effective Jan. 1, 2012. Mikhalevsky will succeed Richard L. Cotta, who will retire on Dec. 31, 2011.

Mikhalevsky brings more than 35 years of leadership experience to CDI. For the past five years he has served as the managing director of global ingredients and foodservices at Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd., the world's largest dairy exporter. In this role, Mikhalevsky was responsible for developing and building many of Fonterra's global customer partnerships. In addition, he oversaw Fonterra's research and innovation division and its branded business in Latin America. Previously, Mikhalevsky held executive positions at Campbell Soup Company, Georgia Pacific Corp. and Symrise Inc. Mikhalevsky is a graduate of Stetson University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance. In addition, he has attended the Food Executive Program at the University of Southern California.

"After an extensive and thorough search, the board and I are pleased to have selected Andrei as the new CEO of CDI. As we considered candidates, Andrei's breadth of experience and strategic vision identified him as the clear choice to lead our cooperative," said CDI Chairman of the Board, Brian Pacheco. "We are confident his ability to implement visionary strategies will lead CDI into the future as a dairy processing cooperative committed to developing and delivering the dairy products the world demands."

"I am honored to have been selected as the next CEO of CDI," shared Mikhalevsky. "CDI's successful and strong history is impressive. As the largest dairy processing cooperative in California and the second largest in the nation, CDI is uniquely positioned to capture growth opportunities in the U.S. and in the global market. I look forward to leading CDI in its continued success."

"On behalf of the board and the membership, I would like to sincerely thank Richard for his dedicated service to CDI since its inception in 1999," added Pacheco. "As CEO the last five years, Richard has led the company to experience unprecedented growth and profits. His knowledge, expertise and leadership have been fundamental in CDI's expanded product offerings and entrance into new markets. He leaves CDI in a strong position poised for future growth."

About California Dairies, Inc.
California Dairies, Inc. is the largest member-owned milk marketing and processing cooperative in California producing 43 percent of California's milk. Co-owned by more than 450 dairy producers who ship more than 17 billion pounds of Real California Milk annually, California Dairies Inc. is a manufacturer of quality butter, fluid milk products and milk powders. In addition, California Dairies Inc. is the home of two leading and well-respected brands of butter -- Challenge and Danish Creamery. California Dairies' quality dairy products are available in all 50 United States and in more than 50 foreign countries. For additional information on California Dairies, Inc., visit