Farmer Brothers Names Keown President & CEO

Interim co-CEOs return to previous roles within company

TORRANCE, Calif. -- Michael Keown joined Farmer Brothers Co. on March 23 as president and chief executive officer.

He comes from WhiteWave Foods Co., a subsidiary of Dean Foods Co., where he served as president of "indulgent brands," which includes International Delight and Land O'Lakes. 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. "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."

Berger thanked interim co-CEOs Jeffrey Wahba and Patrick Criteser, "who have led an impressive financial turnaround at the company over the last year. 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."

Torrance, Calif.-based Farmer Brothers is a manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor of coffee, tea and culinary products through direct and brokered sales to institutional foodservice establishments including restaurants, hotels, casinos, hospitals and foodservice providers, as well as retailers such as convenience stores, coffee houses, general merchandisers, private-label retailers and grocery stores throughout the contiguous United States. Its product line includes roasted coffee, liquid coffee, coffee related products such as coffee filters, sugar and creamers, assorted teas, cappuccino, cocoa, spices, gelatins and puddings, soups, gravy and sauce mixes, pancake and biscuit mixes and jellies and preserves.

The company was founded in 1912 and is currently celebrating its 100th year.