BRIDGEWATER, N.J. – Applegate Farms announced two new executive appointments. Jim Graham will assume the position of vice president of research & development and quality assurance and Joseph O'Connor will take on the role of vice president of sales and marketing. Both will report to Applegate President John Ghingo.

Applegate is a stand-alone subsidiary of Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel Foods Corp.

"As we enter a new decade with strong headwinds facing the meat industry, I'm confident Jim and Joe's expertise will inspire the Applegate team to relentlessly pursue smarter ways to fulfill the Applegate mission: Changing The Meat We Eat," Ghingo said. "There's a huge opportunity to help people understand that meat, raised right, is a vital part of the human experience and a healthy planet, and Jim and Joe will be instrumental in leading our efforts through product innovation, sales and marketing."

Graham recently retired from Mondelez International, formerly Kraft Foods Global LLC, where he spent more than 30 years in research and development. His years of R&D experience include work on global brands including Oreo, Ritz, Maxwell House, Kraft Cheese, Mac & Cheese and Oscar Mayer. He holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia Univ. and an MS in Chemical Engineering from Manhattan College. 

O'Connor began his career with Hormel Foods in 2006. Most recently, he served as director of sales and managed the Hormel Foods Consumer Product Sales business in the Northeast. His other roles with the company included analytics and category sales and management. O'Connor graduated from Saint Joseph's Univ. with a degree in Food Marketing.