Michael Mendes is a long-standing food industry veteran and Fmr. CEO & Managing Partner of artisanal bakery, Just Desserts. Founded in 1974, Just Desserts quickly became a household name across the US, largely due to its reputation of using only the freshest ingredients to produce the highest quality hand-crafted desserts.
As a leader in the industry, Michael has expanded the capabilities of the company, now offering organic, vegan and gluten-free products. The bakery is nut free and soy free, reducing consumer exposure to these common allergens. During his tenure as CEO, Michael has built a new state of the art commercial bakery, positioning the company for growth for the future. He helped validate the capabilities of the new bakery by become SQF, CCOF organic, and Vegan.org certified. Michael enabled the company to achieve the rigorous OU Kosher certification, which has been enabled the brand to reach a broader consumer audience.
Previously, Michael served as CEO, Chairman and President at Diamond Foods Inc. During his tenure, he led the business through significant strategic acquisitions and built a distinct snack portfolio with significant distribution in the US and Europe. He began his career as International Sales and Marketing Manager at Dole Food Company, where he was responsible for steering marketing with a global reach which introduced a wider market to farm-fresh foods.
Michael has served on the boards of the National Raisin Company, Hormel Foods, the Grocery Outlet and on the advisory board of The Wine Group. He served on industry boards including the Grocery Manufacturing Association, Snack Food Association and the NCFC. He has worked to support the community by serving on the board of Envision Education and as chairmen of the San Francisco City Ballet Foundation Board.
He earned his MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management and a BS from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.