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Farmer Bros announces leadership transition, appointment of Interim Ceo

Farmer Bros

NORTHLAKE, Texas, U.S. – Farmer Bros. Co. (the “Company”), a national coffee roaster, wholesaler and distributor of coffee, tea and culinary products, today announced that Christopher P. Mottern, who has served as a Director on the Company’s Board since 2013, has been appointed to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. Mr. Mottern succeeds Michael Keown who, by mutual agreement with the Board, has stepped down as Farmer Brothers’ President and CEO, and as a director.

The Board has commenced a comprehensive search process, with the assistance of a leading executive search firm, to identify and evaluate candidates to serve as permanent CEO.


“As we position Farmer Brothers for its next phase of growth and development, we have determined that now is the right time for a leadership transition,” said Randy Clark, Chairman of the Board.

“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 Brothers 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.”

Mr. Clark continued, “On behalf of the Board and everyone at Farmer Brothers, I want to thank Mike for his commitment and significant contributions to our company since 2012. Under his leadership, Farmer Brothers 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 Brothers 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 Mr. 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 Brothers has a strong foundation for the future and look forward to watching its continued growth and success.”

Mr. Mottern said, “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. We continue to believe there are exciting opportunities ahead for Farmer Brothers and I am committed to driving the business forward, while also ensuring a smooth leadership transition.”

Third Quarter 2019 Financial Results

In a separate release, the Company disclosed its financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended March 31, 2019. The Company will host an audio-only investor conference call webcast today, May 7, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern time (4:00 p.m. Central time) to review its financial results.

About Christopher P. Mottern

Christopher P. Mottern has served on the Board of Directors of Farmer Brothers since 2013. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Inc., a specialty coffee and tea company, from 1997 to 2002 and a director of Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Inc., from 1997 through 2004. From 1992 to 1996, Mr. Mottern served as President of The Heublein Wines Group, a manufacturer and marketer of wines, now part of Diageo plc, a multinational alcoholic beverage company.

From 1986 through 1991, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Capri Sun, Inc., one of the largest single-service juice drink manufacturers in the United States. He has served as a director, including lead director, and member of the finance committee, of a number of private companies. Mr. Mottern received his undergraduate degree in Accounting from the University of Connecticut.