The fresh fruit provider has selected Barbara Guerpillon to head corporate venturing unit Dole Ventures after five years leading Unilever's Foundry Asia business.

Barbara Guerpillon was yesterday announced as the inaugural global head of Dole Ventures, the strategic investment arm of Singapore-based fresh food supplier Dole, which is itself owned by conglomerate Itochu.

Founded in 1851, Dole provides fresh fruit and vegetables and has an estimated $2.5bn annual turnover across more than 70 operating markets.

The appointment comes after Dole Ventures established its Sunshine for All Investment Fund, a $2m unit that will target strategic deals intended to help reduce food waste and improve nutrition.

Guerpillon will be expected to help the Singapore-based unit meet the objectives of Dole’s sustainability remit, the targets of which include supplying nutritious diets for 1 billion people and eliminating sugar from its products by 2025.

Prior to joining Dole, Guerpillon had spent five years as director of consumer products group Unilever’s Foundry Asia up to October 2020. She is credited with delivering 120 collaborative projects with startups, resulting in nine product innovations for Unilever.

Guerpillon said: “Our message is simple. We believe in the power of partnerships and we are seriously in the place of working with startups to live up to our promise. I agree the goals are ambitious, but I have yet to meet leaders who lacked ambition.

“We bring decades of experience in food production, nutritional science, packaging, supply chain logistics and fast-moving consumer goods, so our ability to fund, run and evaluate pilots will, I believe, be very attractive to the rising generations of smart thinkers.”

Photo of Barbara Guerpillon courtesy of Dole Asia Holdings Pte. Ltd.