Executive Profiles

Joel Burrows Headshot

Joel Burrows

Chief Executive Officer

Joel Burrows is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company and is responsible for Ghirardelli's day-to-day operations as well as the Company overall strategy and direction. Joel was appointed to this position in 2017. Prior to coming to Ghirardelli, Joel was most recently CEO at Lindt UK &Ireland, Ghirardelli's sister company. He began his Lindt career as UK Sales Director in 2007. Joel has been responsible for continuously growing market share and brand equity, while also focusing on the people who are critical to the success of the brand. He holds a Master's degree in Economics from The University of Edinburgh. Joel enjoys participating in sports and outdoor activity challanges that benefit charitable organizations, including cycling the length of the UK, participating in a 50k walk, and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Joel is married, with two young children, and the entire family looks forward to all the new experiences that California offers.

 

 
Samuel J Bernegger Headshot

Samuel J. Bernegger

Vice President of Operations

Sam joined Ghirardelli in 2013 as Director of Production in Operations and started with its parent company, Lindt & Sprüngli in Switzerland. Sam began at Lindt & Sprüngli as a Unit Manager in Production in 2007. Sam's experience includes Packaging and Chocolate Moulding and Sam led off the first Lean Manufacturing projects in the organization. Sam started his career as a Junior Controller in the aerospace industry, and moved to Aldi Suisse in Retail Operations before joining Lindt & Sprüngli. Sam holds a Master of Science in Industrial Management and Manufacturing and a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, both from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. In his spare time, Sam loves to cook, and enjoys traveling with his family to exotic places and experiencing different cultures and people.

 

 
Patricia (Patty) King Headshot

Patricia (Patty) King

Vice President of Restaurant and Retail

Patty joined Ghirardelli in March, 2016 and leads the Restaurant and Retail division which includes the Ghirardelli shops, Ecommerce and Business to Business channels. Patty brings to Ghirardelli more than 20 years of experience with prestigious retailers in North America. Prior to joining our team, Patty spent the past six years as Vice President of Merchandising for Trader Joe's. Patty previously held roles in Retail, Catalogue and Ecommerce as well as in-store roles with companies such as Restoration Hardware, Williams-Sonoma and Neiman Marcus. Patty earned a B.S. in Apparel and Merchandising from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. She also holds a Nutrition Educator Certification from Bauman College - Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts in Berkeley, California. She is engaged in many philanthropic organizations, loves cooking and has traveled extensively.

 

 
Chris Eklem Headshot

Chris Eklem

Vice President of Professional Products Division

In this role, Chris is responsible for leading the sales, marketing, product innovation and overall management of PPD. The PPD organization has its own unique set of Ghirardelli products that are used by foodservice professionals as ingredients to make delicious desserts and beverages. Chris is a member of the Ghirardelli Management Team responsible for the company's strategic direction. Chris started working at Ghirardelli in 2003 and was promoted January 2005 to lead the company's foodservice business. Since that time, he has provided the vision, drive and leadership to rapidly build the PPD business into a very important and thriving division of the company. Chris received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon and his Master of Business Administration degree from Pepperdine University. Chris and his wife met in college. They have a son and a daughter. In his spare time, Chris enjoys sports, traveling and exploring National Parks with his family.

 

 
Rob Budowski Headshot

Rob Budowski

Vice President of Sales

Rob joined the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company on June 1, 2011, as Vice President of Sales responsible for confection and baking products for retail partners across the United States along with the Travel Retail and Export divisions internationally. Trade Marketing, Category Management and the Customer Sales groups fall within this portfolio. Rob is also a member of the Management Team responsible for top-line strategic direction. Prior to joining the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Rob worked with Lindt & Sprüngli (Canada), Inc. from 1995 until 2011 holding senior Sales positions with his last posting as Vice President of Sales. The 10 years prior to that were from the University of Manitoba, Canada, with a bachelor or arts degree in 1986.

 

 
Steve Genzoli Headshot

Steve Genzoli

Vice President of Quality Assurance/Research & Development

In this role, Steve is responsible for the overall product quality, research and development, packaging engineering and consumer response functions for the company. Steve joined Ghirardelli in 1997 and has helped guide the strategic growth of the company for the past 16 years. Prior to joining Ghirardelli, Steve spent 8 years with Nestle Chocolate where he held roles in Operations Management and Technical Services and 3 years with Fuji Vegetable Oil where he served as the Technical Marketing Manager. Steve received his Bachelor of Science in Food Science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Steve is an active member of the Pennsylvania Manufacturing Confectioners Association, serving as a Board Member, the National Confectioners Association where he is a member of the Chocolate Council, and lastly he serves on the Executive Board of the World Cocoa Foundation where is a past Vice Chairman. Steve and his wife celebrated their 25th anniversary in 2013 and have 3 children. In his spare time, he watches every sporting event his kids take part in and farms 20 acres of almonds.

 

 
Julie Cunningham Headshot

Julie Cunningham, SPHR-SCP

Vice President of Human Resources

In this role, Julie is responsible for the Human Resources strategy and planning, including staffing, talent management, compensation, benefits, training, development and employee communications. She joined Ghirardelli in 2017. Julie brings 25 years of Human Resources experience in both the public and private sector in various industries including food manufacturing, healthcare, hospitality, retail, and biotech. She graduated from San Diego State University and holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Julie is married and has three children and spends most of her weekends on the sidelines watching and supporting soccer. When soccer season is over, she’ll be outdoors hiking, running and/or traveling.

 

 
Manuele Fabbiane Headshot

Manuele Fabbiane

Chief Financial Officer

Manuele is Chief Financial Officer of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. In this role, Manuele is responsible for oversight of the finance and accounting, information technology, procurement and legal functions. He joined Ghirardelli in 2017. Prior to coming to Ghirardelli, he was with the Lindt group since 2011 in Sydney, as Chief Financial Officer of the Australian subsidiary. Before joining the Lindt Group, Manuele started his career in the Ferrero Group where he spent more than a decade in different finance functions in Luxembourg, Mexico and Germany. In 2000, Manuele graduated from the University of Verona, Italy and holds a bachelor's degree in Economics and Commerce, awarded with high distinction. In his spare time, Manuele enjoys running, skiing and traveling with his wife and two daughters.

 

 
Andrew Curran Headshot

Andrew Curran

Vice President of Marketing

In this role, Andrew is responsible for building the Ghirardelli brand, steering the overall marketing strategy and delivering overall business objectives. This includes brand positioning, advertising, consumer promotions, new product development, packaging design, media planning, digital marketing and consumer and market insight. Andrew joined Ghirardelli in January 2017 and has been part of the Lindt Group since 2007 in various roles in Switzerland, Sweden, France and most recently Australia. Andrew is originally from London and before joining Lindt was working in marketing and sales roles for Danone and Diageo. Andrew graduated from Leeds University in England in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and Management Studies. Andrew moved to California with his wife, 3 small boys, and baby girl and in his spare time he likes to (try and) keep fit, watch sports and go on fun family excursions.