Farmer Bros. Co. announced that Michael Keown will join the company on March 23, 2012 as president and chief executive officer. Keown comes from WhiteWave Foods Co., a subsidiary of Dean Foods Co., where he served as president, Indulgent Brands which includes International Delight(R) and Land O'Lakes(R). He also was responsible for WhiteWave's alternative channel business which is comprised largely of foodservice.
"Mike is an extraordinary leader with significant consumer packaged goods experience and a consistent record of generating strong growth," said Farmer Brothers Chairman of the Board Guenter Berger in a prepared statement. "He has an excellent knowledge of our industry and experience with major foodservice customers which will be a significant benefit to our organization."
"He has the skills, experience, talent and vision to lead Farmer Brothers into a new era of growth while building on the success of the recent past," added Berger. "His strong sales and marketing background with major consumer products and food industry players such as The Procter & Gamble Co., E.&J. Gallo Winery, and The Minute Maid Co. will be a major benefit to Farmer Brothers in its goal to become the preeminent coffee and culinary products supplier to the foodservice industry."
"I'm excited to join Farmer Brothers," Keown said. "Over the past 100 years, Farmer Brothers has grown to become one of the leading coffee-focused, national foodservice suppliers, known for its outstanding service and products. I am looking forward to working with one of the foodservice industry's most talented, experienced and passionate teams."
"We would like to thank Interim Co-CEOs Jeffrey Wahba and Patrick Criteser who have led an impressive financial turnaround at the Company over the last year," added Berger. "They will return to their respective roles as treasurer and CFO of Farmer Bros. Co. and president and CEO of Coffee Bean International, a subsidiary of Farmer Brothers. Both Jeff and Patrick are looking forward to working with Mike."