The Lawrenceburg distillery has been through several name changes over its nearly 175 year old history. It originally started back in 1847 as the Rossville Distillery then like many distilleries of its time was closed down by Prohibition, burned down and was rebuilt. Post Prohibition it was acquired and reopened as Seagrams Distillery. The timestamp engraved on the building uses the date of 1857. That date is a reference to when Seagrams was started North of the border in Canada. It had a few other owners over the years until it was acquired by MPG Ingredients in October 2011.
MGP Ingredients has announced Chief Executive Officer Gus Griffin’s plans to retire from the company and its Board at the company’s annual meeting of stockholders on May 21, 2020. The Board named David Colo, currently a director of MGP, as President and Chief Operating Officer effective March 16 until he assumes the role of CEO upon Griffin’s retirement in May.
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Griffin became CEO in July 2014. Under his leadership MGP developed and successfully implemented a new long-term strategic plan that produced significant improvements in the company’s financial results while also establishing a strong foundation for future growth. Griffin’s retirement timeline is consistent with the fixed term set out in his 2017 employment agreement, which permitted the Board to plan for an orderly succession.
“I’m extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished during my time at MGP,” Griffin said. “I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead such a talented, passionate and collaborative organization. I also appreciate the strong ongoing support of our Board. I’ve worked closely with Dave since he joined the Board and am confident he will be a terrific successor in leading MGP. I look forward to supporting Dave during his transition.”
Karen Seaberg, Chairman of the Board of MGP, expressed thanks for Griffin’s leadership. “On behalf of the Board of Directors, our employees, and MGP’s stakeholders, I express my gratitude to Gus for his success in leading the Company. Gus joined at a critical time in our history. He focused the entire organization on a clear strategy, led its successful implementation, and, very importantly, helped restore MGP’s special culture. We are well-positioned for the next chapter in our story. We sincerely thank Gus for his years of dedicated service to MGP and the lasting contributions he has made to the Company.”
“As we prepared for Gus’s planned retirement, the Board unanimously agreed that David was best suited to lead MGP,” continued Seaberg. “Our deliberate succession planning process has enabled us to ensure a seamless transition. The Board is confident that David’s leadership will positively impact our employees, customers and shareholders into the future.”
Colo has served on the MGP Board since 2015 and will remain a director of the Company. He has more than 30 years of leadership experience in general management, operations and supply chain management. Colo has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of SunOpta Inc. and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for Diamond Foods, Inc. Previously, Colo served in leadership roles in the consumer products division of Con-Agra Foods, Inc., and with Nestle-Purina Pet Care Company. Colo holds a Bachelor of Science, Agribusiness Economics, from Southern Illinois University.
“I am honored to take on this leadership role at this important time in MGP’s history,” said Mr. Colo. “I’m excited for the opportunity to lead this company forward and build on the momentum, culture, and solid operating results achieved during Gus’s tenure.”
MGP Ingredients was founded in 1941. MGP is a leading supplier of premium distilled spirits and specialty wheat proteins and starches. Distilled spirits include bourbon and rye whiskeys, gins and vodkas, which are expertly crafted through a combination of art and science and backed by a long history of experience.