10 Things You Didn’t Know about Dean Foods CEO Ralph Scozzafava

Dean Foods CEO Ralph Scozzafava

Ralph Scozzafava is the current CEO of Dean Foods. In short, Dean Foods is one of the biggest producers of milk, milk products, and other foods and beverages in the United States. Unfortunately, the corporation has run into serious problems, meaning that its future is looking very uncertain for the time being. Here’s what you don’t know about CEO Ralph Scozzafava.

1. Born in Danbury, CT

Scozzafava was born in the city of Danbury in the state of Connecticut. It is interesting to note that the place is sometimes called Hat City, which is a reference to how it was once the center of the hat industry in the United States. However, Danbury’s hat industry suffered a serious decline in the 20th century that resulted in the closure of the last hat factory in 1987, thus bringing a conclusion to something that had sprung into existence in pre-revolution times.

2. Went to University of the Pacific

Initially, Scozzafava went to the University of the Pacific where he studied business. For those who are unfamiliar, the University of the Pacific is a private university that can be found on the West Coast where it has not one, not two, but three campuses in the state of California. It should be mentioned that the University of the Pacific was chartered in July of 1851, thus making it the oldest of the chartered universities that can be found in the state.

3. Went to University of Rhode Island

Eventually, Scozzafava went to the University of Rhode Island for a MBA. Like its name suggests, the University of Rhode Island is the flagship for the public research universities that can be found in Rhode Island. Its most important campus can be found in the village called Kingston, but there are other less important campuses found elsewhere in the state. Besides the University of Rhode Island, it is interesting to note that Scozzafava completed a similar program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management as well.

4. Has a Wide Range of Experience

On the whole, Scozzafava has a wide range of experience with a wide range of companies. For example, he started out at Warner-Lambert, which used to manufacture pharmaceuticals plus other products before being bought out by Pfizer. Likewise, Scozzafava has been with other companies such as Clorox, Wrigley, and Johnson & Johnson. As such, while Scozzafava is a relative newcomer to Dean Foosd, he is by no means a newcomer to either business or business leadership.

5. Has Been Known to Jump Into New Industries

One of the more interesting facts about Scozzafava is that he has been known to jump into new and unfamiliar industries for him. For instance, he joined up with Furniture Brands International as a Vice Chairman of the Board in 2007. This was followed by a six-month apprenticeship under the corporation’s then CEO, which was necessary because Scozzafava needed experience with the furniture industry. Having said that, Scozzafava’s leadership seems to be have been successful, seeing as how he was able to produce a financial turn-around within a short period of time.

6. Implemented Consolidation

As the CEO of Furniture Brands International, Scozzafava pursued a policy of consolidation. For instance, the single best example can be seen in how he consolidated the corporation’s back-office functions into a single unit situated at headquarters, which was necessary because before him, each of the corporation’s individual divisions had handled said matters on their own.

7. Implemented Lean Manufacturing

Besides consolidation, Scozzafava pursued a policy of implementing lean manufacturing as well. In short, lean manufacturing has numerous antecedents, but it came into existence because of people who were fascinated by the efficiencies of Toyota plus other Japanese manufacturers in the 1980s. On the whole, lean manufacturing is focused on eliminating anything that can be considered waste so that manufacturing processes can become more effective and more efficient without sacrificing the value for the customers in the process. Please note that lean manufacturing has a broader definition for waste than what most people would expect, which is one of the factors that has enabled it to have such a notable effect when implemented. After all, if there isn’t a great deal of waste, there aren’t a lot of efficiencies that can be gained by eliminating that waste.

8. Interested in Understanding the Consumer

Scozzafava has stated that he finds understanding the consumer to be very interesting for him. To be fair, it isn’t difficult to see why people might find the process to be fascinating, seeing as how it involves observing consumers, figuring out who they are and what they want, and then going even deeper to understand how their environments have contributed to those realities. As such, it is no wonder that Scozzafava has compared understanding consumers to being an anthropologist.

9. Believes in Being a Lifelong Learner

Since he is a CEO, it should come as no surprise to learn that Scozzafava takes self-improvement very seriously. As such, he is a big believer in being a lifelong learner, as shown by his interest in reading books containing information that is new to him as well as other signs of his curiosity. Moreover, Scozzafava is very interested in soliciting feedback as well, which provides him with useful information to guide further growth. Something that is critical for preventing him and his business from coming to a standstill.

10. Sees CSR Practices As Investments

It is interesting to note that Scozzafava sees corporate social responsibility practices as investments in his business. Having said that, this isn’t an uncommon opinion in business leadership, seeing as how there are multiple studies suggesting that corporate social responsibility can have very beneficial results for a business’s practical considerations. After all, corporate social responsibility strengthens a business’s stakeholders, which is rather important when it is reliant on those stakeholders for everything from its employees to its business customers. On top of that, corporate social responsibility is a simple and straightforwad method to raise public opinion of a business, which is one of the most critical elements of brand-building.


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