By  on December 4, 2009

Ido Leffler, the founder of Yes To Inc., is passing the carrot.

Leffler, who created the plucky, naturally positioned personal care range Yes to Carrots three years ago, has stepped aside as chief executive officer and installed a veteran of the Clorox Co., Joy Chen, in the top post. Chen officially joined the company on Monday.

Going forward, Leffler will serve as president of the company, Yes To Inc., which distributes its eco-minded, vegetable-inspired ranges — Yes to Carrots, Yes to Cucumbers and Yes to Tomatoes — to mass retailers in the U.S. and to Sephora in Europe.

“It’s a proud moment for me. It allows me to focus on the big picture and less on the day-to-day. Now I can focus on the next three years,” said Leffler. He added that Chen brings 16 years of experience from Clorox Co., where she most recently served as vice president, operations of Laundry, Home Care and the Greenworks unit — together a more than $1 billion division. Also on her résumé are Hewlett-Packard Co. and an M.B.A. from Harvard University. Chen, who lives four blocks from the firm’s San Francisco headquarters, said of her new role, “Yes To Inc. has had a huge impact and significant buzz in the world of beauty. My objective is to take Yes To [Inc.] to the next phase of growth.”

She listed adding new distribution, fleshing out the brand with more innovation and pursuing international opportunities as key priorities. As for how she plans to fill the orange Puma shoes of her predecessor — Leffler is known for his carrot-colored clothing — Chen said, “I’ve already bought an orange wardrobe.” In a show of support, her husband purchased an orange sweater, she added.

“Her role is focused on the internal side of the operation,” said Leffler, who said he will continue globe-trotting to connect with retailers and media across the 29 countries where the brand is sold. He also plans to devote his time to Yes To Inc.’s philanthropic arm, the Yes to Carrots Seed Fund.

Referring to handing over the ceo role, Leffler said, “It’s very emotional, but it feels like a rebirth,” adding, “It’s a nice stamp of approval on your business to have someone who is willing to leave a [large] company after 16 years.”

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