Cherrylake and IMG Citrus, who are both subsidiaries of IMG Enterprises, a $90 million Florida agri-business with diversified operations in citrus, ornamental landscape, ecosystem restoration, and real estate, announced the appointment of Melanie Ressler, Timothee Sallin, and Chloe Gentry as co-CEOs of the company. Michel Sallin, who is the co-founder of IMG Enterprises and previously sole CEO, will continue on the board of directors.
(Editor's note: we interviewed Timothee and Chloe for the June 2019 cover story on Cherrylake's culture of constant improvement.)
While restructuring into a co-CEO model is not a widespread practice, there are a number of Fortune 500 companies, including Samsung and Netflix, with co-CEOs. At IMG Enterprises, this unconventional approach emerged as a result of over a decade of succession planning. As a family-owned business, transitioning the first generation of family leadership to the second generation is relatively common; however, IMG Enterprises’ approach is unique because all three of the founders’ children are named as co-CEOs.
With a history of over 40 years, IMG Enterprises has grown substantially under the leadership of its co-founders, Michel and Veronique Sallin. Originally from France, the Sallins came to the U.S. to pursue their entrepreneurial dream of building a sustainable agricultural business that would last for generations, hoping to pass on a legacy to their children and the community. Within a few years of starting out, the devastating citrus freezes of the 1980s brought their fledgling business to the brink. Because of this hardship, they learned to build resilience and diversification into the business. Over the years, they faced adversity countless times; however, each time they found opportunities within the challenges. Their growth mindset, along with their unshakeable commitment to core values, propelled the Sallin family to grow the business into what it is today. It is currently ranked the 27th-largest privately-owned company in Central Florida and one of Central Florida’s Best Places to Work (Orlando Business Journal).
The decision to retire and pass on their legacy to their three children is a big transition; however, the three siblings, Melanie Ressler, Timothee Sallin, and Chloe Gentry, have been a close working team at the company for years, reflecting the company’s culture of teamwork and collaborative leadership.
“Each of them has extensive experience with the operational and strategic knowledge of the enterprise, as well as passion and alignment towards our vision,” Michel Sallin said. “Together, they bring a critical understanding of the strategic, financial, operational, and human dynamics of our enterprise.”
Sallin, Ressler, and Gentry come together at multiple points throughout the day, and they have planned meetings every Tuesday to discuss operational updates, strategies, and investment opportunities. They also share an office space together to facilitate communication and collaboration.
“IMG Enterprises is a value-driven company. Most decisions are made as a group and through the spirit of collaboration,” Gentry said. “We firmly believe that together as co-CEOs we can make decisions better than a singular person.”