Andrei Mikhalevsky, former president and CEO of California Dairies Inc., was greeted by a standing ovation from hundreds of his peers from across the dairy industry when he received the inaugural International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) Laureate Award during the association’s annual Dairy Forum in Scottsdale, Ariz. The IDFA Laureate Award is given to a leader in the dairy industry who has made significant, prolonged contributions to the development and growth of dairy. Candidates from across the dairy industry, as well as suppliers and academics, are eligible, and the awardee is chosen by a panel of industry professionals, Washington, D.C.-based IDFA said.
Visalia, Calif-based California Dairies Inc. (CDI) is the nation's second largest dairy processing cooperative. Mr. Mikhalevsky was named president and CEO in November 2011 and began serving his term on Jan. 1, 2012, retiring at the end of 2019 after eight years, IDFA said.
Mr. Mikhalevsky’s career spans more than 40 years, and he has held a variety of leadership positions within the dairy industry. Previously, he served as the managing director of global ingredients and foodservices at Fonterra Cooperative Group Ltd., the world's largest dairy exporter. Mikhalevsky built many of Fonterra's global customer partnerships and oversaw the company’s research and innovation division and its branded business in Latin America, IDFA said.
Prior to Fonterra, Mikhalevsky held executive positions at Campbell Soup Company, Georgia Pacific Corp. and Symrise Inc., IDFA said. He is a graduate of Stetson University where majored in finance and earned a Bachelor of Business Administration. In addition, he has attended the Food Executive Program at the University of Southern California. Mr. Mikhalevsky currently serves as a director on the IDFA Executive Council and as chair of the IDFA Dairy Ingredients Board.
“In selecting Andrei for this award, our panel recognized a true leader and innovator in the dairy industry, a professional who is respected by peers and competitors alike, and a partner and ally to anyone working on behalf of successful, sustainable dairy industry,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA. “For his service to our industry and to IDFA, we are proud to present Andrei Mikhalevsky with the very first IDFA Laureate Award.”