PE-backed Tierra Nueva adds two to board

Miami-based Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa LLC, a chocolate and coffee technology company, has named Dr. Deryck van Rensburg and Neil Dorfman to its board of directors. Van Rensburg is the Dean of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School and Dorfman is a 24-year veteran of Nestle. Tierra Nueva is backed by ProspEquity Partners.


MIAMI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dr. Deryck van Rensburg, Dean of Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School, and Neil Dorfman, a 24-year veteran of Nestle, have been appointed to the board of directors for Miami-based Tierra Nueva Fine Cocoa, LLC, a coffee technology and manufacturing company.

Van Rensburg has 32 years of global business experience with The Coca-Cola Company and Unilever PLC, founded the Venture and Emerging Brands Division at Coca-Cola and recently served as president of global ventures at Coca-Cola. Dorfman held operational and manufacturing leadership positions with Nestle Professional North America, Nestle USA Retail Beverage and Nestle Canada, and currently provides operational guidance for Tampa, Fla.-based ProspEquity Partners (PEP), an emerging private equity firm which has purchased a majority stake in Tierra Nueva.

Van Rensburg’s work has been featured on CNBC as part of a 2009 original documentary, Coca-Cola: The Real Story Behind the Real Thing. He was also nominated by Advertising Age magazine as one of 21 “Influencers” reshaping media and marketing in 2011, and was nominated to the “Global 100 Corporate Venturing Powerlist” in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

He previously served Coca-Cola as president of venturing and emerging businesses with $1 billion potential via entrepreneurial partnering, corporate venture capital investment, intrapreneurial incubation and acquisition. He operated as part of the North American executive team while serving in this role. He also served Coca-Cola internationally as president of the Germany & Nordic Division, based in Berlin, Germany, as a member of the European executive leadership and as president of the Southeast Europe & Gulf division in Athens, Greece, spanning 20 countries.

“In my experience of vetting hundreds of new brand ideas when I ran Coca-Cola’s venturing unit, it was rare to find fusions of technology, product and brand that possessed true disintermediation potential,” van Rensburg said. “I believe Tierra Nueva offers that kind of potential.”

Christopher Ramonetti, Chairman of the Board of Tierra Nueva and managing partner and CEO of PEP, said van Rensburg’s appointment is an example of Tierra Nueva’s power to attract respected, top business minds to its board.
“Deryck’s appointment is exciting for Tierra Nueva as he has a stellar track record developing emerging products and brands,” Ramonetti said. “We look forward eagerly to his guidance and counsel as we build globally recognized innovations at Tierra Nueva.”

Dorfman was a member of Nestle’s leadership teams and directed manufacturing, engineering, quality management, capital planning, supply chain and product development. He began his career in operations and manufacturing management at Proctor & Gamble in processing, packaging and distribution in the soap, food and juice product categories. He then joined Red Cheek, a small Pennsylvania-based juice company, and helped orchestrate a management buyout of the company and operated as a co-manufacturer of juice products for leading nationally branded companies.

“Tierra Nueva has spent many years developing proprietary technology that creates unique coffee products that maintain shelf-life, flavor and aroma intensity,” Dorfman said. “Now, with the backing of ProspEquity Partners, Tierra Nueva is poised to take its proprietary technology to the marketplace and create global demand for the edible coffee category that, for the first time, uses 100 percent of the coffee bean.”

Ramonetti lauded Dorfman’s quarter century of experience at Nestle. “Neil has a strong reputation for operational leadership as well as solid strategic business thinking and, after retirement, has continued to provide support to the Nestle Professional business in developing its manufacturing capabilities,” Ramonetti said. “It’s an honor welcoming Neil to Tierra Nueva’s board of directors.”

PEP works intimately with family offices and other independent sponsor limited partners to identify and invest in growth equity in direct investment opportunities, generally between $3 million and $30 million. PEP utilizes its ecosystem of expertise and access to aggressively scale proven product or service offerings toward a major exit through initial public offering or strategic acquisition.

PEP’s three-tiered business philosophy includes:
Investing and inspiring people because people are the transformative competitive advantage and key to innovation, productivity, growth and profitability.
Infusing not just capital and expertise, but proven methodologies and processes that enhance the culture and entrepreneurial spirit of portfolio companies.
Sincerely believing that prosperity means superior and lasting economic and social value for all stakeholders, including investors, employees, customers and the community.

For further information regarding current investment opportunities, please contact PEP at, and for more information on Tierra Nueva, please visit