Christopher P. Mottern, who has served as a director on the Farmer Bros. Co. board since 2013, has been appointed to serve as interim CEO, succeeding Michael Keown who, by mutual agreement with the board, stepped down as company president, CEO and director. The change was effective May 7.
Farmer Bros. Co. is a Northlake, Texas-based coffee roaster, wholesaler and distributor of coffee, tea and culinary products nationwide.
“I am honored to assume the interim CEO role and intend to work closely with the board, our senior leadership team, and our dedicated employees as we execute our strategy,” Mottern said. “We continue to believe there are exciting opportunities ahead for Farmer Bros. and I am committed to driving the business forward, while also ensuring a smooth leadership transition.”
Mottern has served on the board of directors since 2013. He served as president and CEO of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Inc. from 1997 to 2002 and a director of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Inc., from 1997 through 2004. From 1992 to 1996, Mottern served as President of The Heublein Wines Group. From 1986 through 1991, he served as president and CEO of Capri Sun, Inc. He has served as a director, including lead director, and member of the finance committee, of a number of private companies. Mottern received his undergraduate degree in Accounting from the University of Connecticut.
A search process is underway, with the assistance of a leading executive search firm, to identify and evaluate candidates to serve as permanent CEO.
“As we position Farmer Bros. for its next phase of growth and development, we have determined that now is the right time for a leadership transition,” said Chairman of the Board Randy Clark. “Chris brings more than 40 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, having served as CEO of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, President of The Heublein Wines Group, and CEO of Capri Sun, Inc. With his deep understanding of our business from his six years on the board, extensive leadership and industry experience, and background in finance and accounting, Chris is a natural fit to lead Farmer Bros. in an interim capacity while we conduct a thorough and comprehensive search for a new permanent CEO. The board is focused on identifying the right leader to guide the company forward during this important time in its history and driving sustainable growth and value creation for our shareholders.”
“On behalf of the board and everyone at Farmer Bros., I want to thank Mike for his commitment and significant contributions to our company since 2012,” Clark said. “Under his leadership, Farmer Bros. has grown through multiple acquisitions, made critical investments into its roasting facilities, successfully relocated its headquarters and rebuilt its workforce in Northlake, and achieved ambitious sustainability goals. We appreciate Mike’s dedication to the company’s mission, and we wish him all the best in the future.”
“It has been a privilege to lead Farmer Bros. and work alongside its talented team of employees over the past seven years, and I am proud of all that we have accomplished together,” said Keown. “With the company’s state-of-the-art coffee processing facility, leadership position in sustainable coffee practices, and having brought the Boyd’s coffee volume into the company’s operations, I am confident Farmer Bros. has a strong foundation for the future and look forward to watching its continued growth and success.”