updated 4/27/2011 4:18:20 PM ET 2011-04-27T20:18:20

SAN FRANCISCO, April 27, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Diamond Foods, Inc. (Nasdaq:DMND) announced today the appointment of former Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Del Monte Foods, Richard G. Wolford to its board of directors effective April 27, 2011.  Mr. Wolford retired from Del Monte earlier this year after leading the company from a public to private ownership structure. 

"Rick brings to our Board a deep and diversified understanding of the food and consumer packaged goods industry particularly in marketing, operations and international markets," said Michael J. Mendes, Chairman, President and CEO. "He's a proven industry leader who can provide a unique insight to our merger integration process." 

Mr. Wolford began his career in the food industry at Dole Foods. Early in his career he lived and worked in Central America and later the Philippines where he directed the company's operations and was later responsible for Dole's worldwide packaged operations in Thailand, the Philippines, Hawaii, Korea and the U.S. mainland. In 1982, Mr. Wolford was named President of Dole Packaged Foods, a position he held for five years.

In 1987, Mr. Wolford joined with private equity investors to invest in and develop businesses in the food industry. In 1996, having identified Del Monte Foods as a high potential acquisition opportunity, he worked with TPG (Texas Pacific Group), a private equity partnership, to acquire the company. On completion of the acquisition, he was named Chief Executive Officer in April 1997. He successfully took the Company public in a 1999 IPO and was elected Chairman of the Board in May 2000.

Under Mr. Wolford's leadership, Del Monte successfully acquired Heinz Pet Foods in a reverse Morris Trust transaction that added a high growth pet food business to the company's more mature fruit and vegetable business. Mr. Wolford led Del Monte from a $1 billion consumer foods business into a branded pet and consumer products company with close to $4 billion in revenues. During his tenure, Del Monte's portfolio was transformed by building and acquiring strong and growing brand equities. The company's growth included enhancing its margin structure and building a talented team.

Mr. Wolford has served as a member of the board of directors of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and in January 2010 was elected as its Chairman of the Board. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the Consumer Goods Forum. Mr. Wolford is the recipient of the 2011 GMA Hall of Achievement award honoring extraordinary leadership and commitment to the consumer packaged goods industry and the 2011 Food Marketing Institute (FMI) William H. Albers Award recognizing excellence in trading partner relations and consumer and community service. Wolford graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Economics.

About Diamond

Diamond Foods is an innovative packaged food company focused on building, acquiring and energizing brands including Kettle®Chips, Emerald® snack nuts, Pop Secret ® popcorn, and Diamond of California® culinary and snack nuts. The Company's products are distributed in a wide range of stores where snacks and culinary nuts are sold.

Corporate Web Site: www.diamondfoods.com

Consumer Web Sites:  www.kettlebrand.com , www.kettlefoods.co.uk , www.emeraldnuts.com , www.popsecret.com , www.diamondnuts.com , and www.diamondsnackbetter.com

The Diamond Foods, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=6112

Note regarding forward-looking statements

This release contains forward-looking statements as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including projections of Diamond's and the combined company's results and the expected benefits of the transaction. Forward-looking statements necessarily depend on assumptions, data or methods that may be incorrect or imprecise and are subject to risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from projections made in this release. Some factors that could cause actual results to differ from our expectations include the timing of closing the transaction and the possibility that the transaction is not consummated, risks of integrating acquired businesses and entering markets in which we have limited experience, availability and pricing of raw materials, impact of additional indebtedness, loss of key suppliers, customers or employees, and an increase in competition. A more extensive list of factors that could materially affect our results can be found in Diamond's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"). They are available publicly and on request from Diamond's Investor Relations department.

CONTACT: Investors:
         Linda Segre
         SVP, Corporate Strategy
         (415) 445-7444
         Stephen Sibert,
         VP, Corporate Affairs and Communications
         (415) 445-7444

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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