Executive 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. 

 

Keith Mitchell, EVP & CFO

Keith oversees all finance and administrative functions at Sun World including accounting, human resources and IT. Previously, Keith served as VP/CFO at Dole Food Company and Dole Fresh Fruit North America, and held finance positions for Dole throughout Europe. Keith has a B.S. in accounting, an MBA, and he is a Certified Public Accountant. Contact Keith

Jeff Jackson, EVP Chief Commercial Officer

Jeff leads new growth initiatives at Sun World and manages the oversight of the Company’s licensing business and global technical services, brings extensive farming supply chain, ag business development, and produce marketing experience to Sun World. Prior to joining Sun World, Jeff held leadership roles at Chiquita, Fresh Express, Group Australia, Earthbound Farms and Tanimura & Antle. He has a Juris Doctorate from the University of California, Hastings College of Law and an undergrad degree from the University of California, Berkeley. Contact Jeff

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

Garth Swinburn VP, Licensing

Garth leads Sun World’s global licensing 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

Terry Bacon VP, Variety Development

Terry directs fruit breeding and commercial testing operations at Sun World and manages all field and post-harvest research.  He grew up in farming, managing his family stone fruit operation in Texas.  Terry is also a highly respected breeder with 16 years at Texas A & M as a stone fruit breeder.  He has a BSc in Horticulture and a Masters in Fruit Breeding, both from Texas A & M.  Contact Terry.

Michele Melillo VP, Global Technical Services

Michele leads the company’s Global Technical Services (GTS) 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