Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. has announced the appointment of three new directors to its board: John Hayes, executive vp and chief marketing officer of American Express, Susan Saltzbart Kilsby, senior advisor to Credit Suisse AG, and Robert Steele, former vice chairman/healthcare strategy for The Proctor & Gamble Co. The appointments coincide with the retirement of two board members, former president and CEO Lawrence Blanford, and GMCR founder Robert Stiller, who becomes chairman emeritus following his retirement from the board.
“John, Susan and Rob are terrific individual leaders with prestigious careers and significant global experience. Each will be a tremendous asset to GMCR as we continue to drive single-serve beverage category expansion and pursue growth opportunities leveraging the strength of our Keurig brewing technology,” Norm Wesley, GMCR’s board chairman, said. “Bob Stiller’s vision for GMCR has been unwavering, and as a result of his foresight, GMCR experienced unprecedented growth as it successfully transitioned from a regionally recognized specialty coffee roaster to a leader in the emerging single-serve beverage category in North America. On behalf of many GMCR stakeholders, including our board and our executive leadership and all our employees, we express our gratitude to Bob and we are very pleased that he will assume the newly created role of chairman emeritus.”
For his part, Stiller commented on the announcement, saying, “I believe the time is right to retire from the board and pursue a variety of personal interests. I am confident that GMCR’s culture of innovation, the breadth and depth of our board and leadership team, the determination of our employees and the incredible consumer enthusiasm for our brands will continue to drive value for all GMCR stakeholders. It has been the highlight of my business career to serve GMCR, and I am enthusiastic to continue to do so in this new role.”
Steele’s appointment is effective June 20, while the Hayes and Kilsby appointments are effective July 1. Stiller’s retirement was effective June 19, and Blanford’s retirement will be effective tomorrow. Upon Hayes and Kilsby’s appointments, GMCR’s board of directors will consist of 11 members, 10 of whom are independent.
“GMCR has a bright future with growth opportunities in new channels and with new brewer technologies that take the power of Keurig to new beverages in large part thanks to the solid foundation and building blocks that Larry Blanford and the GMCR team put in place,” stated Brian Kelley, GMCR president and CEO. “Personally, I am grateful for Larry’s guidance during my initial days as GMCR’s CEO and on behalf of the board, our employees, partners, customers and many other GMCR stakeholders, I thank him for his unwavering dedication to the company.”
In connection with Stiller’s retirement, he and the company entered into a letter agreement, dated June 19, pursuant to which Stiller will make himself available for a period of one year following his retirement to provide advisory services and general advice to GMCR relating to its corporate social responsibility mission and business innovation strategy. Similarly, in connection with Blanford’s retirement, he and the company entered into a letter agreement, dated June 19, pursuant to which Blanford will make himself available until December 31 to provide general advisory services to GMCR.