Jo Paska

Josipa Paska, Managing Director, FOCI

Josipa Paska is a fats and oils expert with more than 30 years of experience managing food lipid businesses for global companies including Unilever, Loders Croklaan and AAK. Her field of expertise expanded into biofuels, sucrose polyesters (SPE’s), specialty chemicals and omega 3 TG while managing TRT/FINA in Cincinnati.

In 2012, after a decade of running lipid businesses for food, energy and pharmaceutical nutrition in the United States, Josipa returned to Canada where she established FOCI – the fats and oils competitve intelligence advising agency in Toronto. As Managing Director, Josipa leads the company’s consultancy activities on business development and competitiveness, mergers and acquisitions, strategic sourcing, oils and fats market analyses, market strategy and client capacity building.

FOCI clients include governments, global confectionery companies and fats and oils companies in the US, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Middle East, Brazil and Europe.

Josipa began her career in industrial oils and fats with Unilever Canada in a technical capacity and progressed into a GM position for Canada in the late 1980s.She spent 3 years in Chicago managing the Unilever’s North American confectionery business at Van den Bergh Foods, before returning to Toronto in 1995 to assume a GM position for Loders Croklaan Canada (a Unilever Europe Specialty Fats Division) and a Director, Confectionery Business North America.

When Unilever divested the Loders business to IOI in 2002, Josipa was engaged by Aarhus Inc. in NJ,  first as Vice President Sales and Marketing and in January 2004 as a President and CEO, and took the seat on the Company’s Board.

Following the Aarhus merger with Karlshamns in 2005, Josipa held an interim position on the Global Management Team that managed integration into the new AarhusKarlshamn (AAK) Company, where she remained as a CEO for AAK US and Canada. At AAK Josipa introduced the first non-hydrogenated, trans free and low saturated (TFLS) product  and built the associated manufacturing, supply chain and HR capacities. The new product portfolio quickly captured the attention of bakery and nutritional companies looking for strategic supply of novel trans free fats. In 2004, only 7 months after FDA’s announcement on trans labeling in July 2003, AAK converted an entire product portfolio of a large biscuit company in Canada to TFLS fats in a span of only two months.

In 2008, Twin Riwers Technology (TRT) called on Josipa’s turnaround and business growth expertise to lead market development and application strategy for unique SPE technology of the site in Cincinnat. When TRT was sold to FINA in 2009, she was appointed CEO. She guided the company onto a strategic path of optimum capacity utilizatio for generation of superior specialty fats, biofuels, SPEs’ for food and non-petroleum plastics, as well as omega 3 triglycerides for pharmaceuticals.

Establishing the strategic sourcing of vegetable and marine oils was essential to the strategy execution, as was the capital expenditure which resulted in construction of state of the art processig facilities for marine omega 3TG specialty fats.

Josipa’s broad background and extensive business activities have resulted in record growth for all of the businesses with which she has been associated. She has successfully lobbied CRS and FDA on issues associated with import duties and ingredient labeling, respectively, and has pioneered manufacturing mass customization and creation of TFLS specialty products. She holds (Unilever and AAK) patents for specialty fats applied in confectionery and bakery uses.

Engaged by SOY 20/20, Josipa prepared first ever analyses of vegetable oils and fats market in Canada for 2013.

Josipa is a graduate of the Research Biology program at the Croatian University of Zagreb, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, where she obtained an engineer designation prior to moving to Canada. She is an alumnus of Kellogg’s School of Management, Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

Josipa held a Chair of Associate Members of the Canadian Confectionery Manufacturers Association (CMAC), where she became the first Associate Member to be elected to the Board of the Association.  She served as a Chair of Candy Industry’s Kettle Committee, which selects the winning candidate for the North American Award of Excellence and served on the Boards of ISEO, the Institute of Shortenings and Oils, GOED, the Global Organization of EPA and DHA omega3 and VOIC, the Vegetable Oil Industry of Canada.