Leadership Team

David Marguleas, President & CEO

A third-generation produce industry executive, David joined Sun World in 1986 and has led just about every segment of the business including sales & marketing, R & D, farming, and packing operations. Well-known to the global grower community, David conceived, managed and grew the Company’s international licensing business. He has served in leadership roles at countless produce industry organizations, including most recently, board chair of the Produce Marketing Association (PMA).  In 2020, David was named a ‘Vanguard’ by Produce Business Magazine, in recognition of his leadership in advancing the produce industry. He graduated from Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 


Jennifer Petersen, EVP & Chief Science Officer

Jennifer directs all activities, staff and external partnerships pertaining to breeding, variety development, and related technologies at Sun World. Jennifer brings extensive experience in germplasm creation and management. She most recently held leadership positions at Bayer Crop Science and its subsidiary Monsanto, leading global genetics teams. Jennifer has a BSc in Horticultural Science from Oregon State, a Ph.D in Plant Biology and post-doctoral research experience from The University of California, Davis. Contact Jennifer

Michael Stimson, General Counsel and VP of Intellectual Property

Michael brings a wealth of relevant and highly specialized legal skills and agriculture IP experience to Sun World. He leads Sun World’s IP team to bolster the global value, integrity and presence of our brands, varieties, and new technologies by managing and protecting our plant variety rights and global trademark portfolio, as well as all IP and licensing transactional and contract matters. Michael earned a B.S. in physics from UC Irvine, an M.S. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Cornell University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center. Contact Michael

Rachael Kelly, EVP, Chief People & Culture Officer

In Sun Worlds’ newly created Chief People & Culture Officer role, Rachael is responsible for the design of the organization, development of the team, guiding the company to achieve its strategic goals, end-to-end human capital management, and facilitating a high-impact culture.  A self-made, award-winning executive with extensive experience leading transformations, Rachael brings a unique perspective to the Sun World team. Rachael is also a board member for CORE, Children Of Restaurant Employees, a non-profit supporting food service operations employees.  Contact Rachael.

Rina Perrault, VP Strategy & Sustainability

Rina joined the Sun World team in 2021. An important role for Rina is to support, analyze and help to manage a wide portfolio of activities. This includes external growth initiatives and investments, Sun World’s strategic planning process, and various high-priority sustainability projects and initiatives. Rina earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard University in organismic and evolutionary biology, while minoring in global health and health policy.  Contact Rina

Garth Swinburn, VP Business Development

Garth leads Sun World’s business development operations. Prior to joining Sun World, he worked extensively in fruit production, horticultural development and produce marketing.  Garth also served as a senior consultant to agribusiness entities throughout Australia focusing on grapes, stone fruit, citrus and almonds. Garth holds an undergraduate degree in Horticulture as well as post-graduate degrees in Ag Business and Ag Economics. Contact Garth

Jennifer Sanchez, VP of Marketing

Jennifer (Jen) Sanchez has more than 20 years of experience in the fresh produce industry with roles in marketing, sales, and category management. In recent years Jen worked for Church Brothers Farms as Director of Marketing. In the VP of Marketing role, Jen will work cross-functionally to bring new varieties to life through the development and execution of compelling marketing and communication strategies. She will also manage trade and consumer communication through trade shows, events, sales materials, and social media. Jen will lead work with external agencies to ensure that Sun World’s vision and goals will be achieved throughout the marketing and research campaigns. Jen is working to complete her doctorate in business administration with a focus on marketing at Liberty University.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Business Administration degree from Azusa Pacific University. Contact  Jennifer

Michele Melillo, VP Global Technical Services

Michele leads the company’s global technical services team, delivering support in agronomic management and culture practices to Sun World’s network of 1800+ growers in 15+ countries growing Sun World’s table grape and stone fruit varieties. Michele has been an independent viticulturist since 2004, based in Europe but with extensive experience in Australia, North Africa and South America. He joined the Sun World team as a consultant for Europe and Australia in 2014. Michele holds a B.Sc. in Agronomy at the University of Bari, Italy and an M. Sc. in Horticulture and Agronomy at UC Davis, California. Contact Michele

Pablo Ramirez, Director Global Licensing

Pablo joined Sun World team in 2019. He directs Sun World’s licensing business in South America and Europe. He holds an Agricultural Engineering degree from the National Agrarian University La Molina in Lima, Peru. He has been involved in the Ag business for Over 10 years, first working as a Commercial Manager fruit export and then offering commercial consulting to growers and exporters in Peru. In that role, Pablo has also been an advisor to Sun World. Contact Pablo

Petri Van Der Merwe, Director Global Licensing

Petri joined the Sun World time in 2018. He directs Sun World’s licensing business in North America, Africa, Australia, Israel and MENA area. Petri brings considerable skills and experience to the Sun World licensing programs with over 20 years in the global Fast-moving consumer goods industry and a focus on fresh produce. His background includes new variety and product development, commercial operations, procurement, supply chains and key account management with the Capespan group of companies in both South Africa and Europe. More recently, Petri had his own consultancy business in South Africa providing a range of services, including market development support, to fresh produce suppliers. Contact Petri