Christopher D. Furman ’81 Receives the 2017 Hall of Fame Award
by Colleen Sabatino '11 (M.A.)
After graduating from Saint Joseph’s University in 1981 with a degree in food marketing, Christopher D. Furman began a career in the food, beverage and consumer products industries that has flourished for more than 30 years.
Today, Furman is president and chief executive officer of Ventura Foods, a privately held joint venture between CHS Inc. and Mitsui & Co., Ltd., and a leading global manufacturer of custom and branded food products based in Brea, California.
On April 5, 2017 he will be recognized for his leadership and positive influence on both his profession and Saint Joseph’s University when he is inducted into HSB’s Hall of Fame. The presentation and dinner reception will be held at the Union League of Philadelphia on Wednesday, April 5 at 6 p.m.
“Chris and I first met when I had the pleasure of being his pitching coach on the Saint Joseph’s baseball team,” says HSB Dean and former Hawk coach Joseph DiAngelo, Ed.D. ’70. “The same passion and determination that he had as a player then, he has brought to everything in his life — his family, his community, his career and his alma mater. I am proud to welcome Chris into our Hall of Fame.”
In 2009, Furman took the reigns of a successful budding company and set into motion an aggressive growth strategy. At the helm of Ventura Foods, Furman leads more than 3,000 employees and over $3 billion in annual sales. Under his leadership, Furman and his talented team have achieved lofty financial, customer and organizational goals, growing a largely U.S. based company into a well-respected and highly regarded global food company. Furman has led Ventura Foods through five of its most successful growth years and the company is consistently recognized and celebrated for excellence by its customers, suppliers and employees.
Furman came to Ventura Foods from PepsiCo, Inc., one of the world’s leading food and beverage companies, where he had a remarkable 23-year career. During his tenure with PepsiCo, Furman held positions across the organization including operations, sales, and marketing ultimately rising to general management assignments accountable for company-wide functions. Furman fulfilled numerous roles leading efforts in the United States and abroad, including the president of Pepsi Spain. He met each opportunity and challenge with success and eventually ascending to the role of president, PepsiCo Foodservice. In this role, Furman was one of PepsiCo’s top 30 executives and a member of the company’s governing executive leadership committee.
A former member of Saint Joseph’s Board of Trustees, Furman has a long history of being generous with his time, lending his expertise and giving to support educational and charitable organizations close to his heart. In 2013, he established an SJU endowed scholarship for food marketing students and is recognized as a Children’s Hospital of Orange County Circle of Hero’s donor. Furman serves as a board member of the Pacific Life Insurance Company, and previously served on the Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) Foundation Board and the consultative board for the Santa Margarita Catholic High School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California. On behalf of Ventura Foods, he recently joined as a society fellow to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) to support enhancing the quality of education and enriching the lives of CIA students and the college communities.
“My time spent in the classroom, on the field, and as part of the Saint Joseph University family prepared me well for the many challenges in the dynamic business environment and instilled in me a strong sense of community and faith –professionally and personally,” says Furman. “It is an honor to be welcomed into the Saint Joseph’s HSB Hall of Fame and to have my achievements recognized.”
Furman lives in Coto de Caza, California with his wife, Monica. They have three children, Matthew, Emily, and Caroline ’18.
For more information or to register for the event, visit alumni.sju.edu/hsbhalloffame.