Coca-Cola executive to head Green Mountain Coffee Roasters
WATERBURY — A 51-year-old Coca-Cola executive will be the new CEO and president of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. beginning Dec. 3.
The incoming executive, Brian Kelley, will be paid $900,000 a year in addition to a $600,000 signing bonus and $500,000 for relocation expenses. He’ll also receive about $3 million worth of performance shares with GMCR, an amount determined by financial targets he achieves as well as other long-term opportunities.
“You hope this is his last job,” said Norman Wesley, a retired executive and new Green Mountain Coffee Roasters board member.
“He’s walking away from some vested equity at Coke,” Wesley said, “so we gave him an opportunity to make that up ... most of which he has to earn.”
Shares added $1.66, or 6 percent, to $28.99 in afternoon trading. The stock had dropped 39 percent this year.
The Waterbury-headquartered company has recently faced increasing competition from other beverage and food companies as some of its key patents expired in mid-September. Much of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters’ success can be attributed to its Keurig product lines, including the single-serving coffee machines and the K-cup one-serving packs. With the Keurig patents expiring, other companies have launched rival single-serving products.
In October, GMCR announced it was creating a new international business position, filled by the head of its Canadian branch, Gérard Geoffrion. Wesley said the unit will be able to expand the business.
The outgoing CEO and president, Larry Blanford, said in February that he planned to retire. He’ll remain with the company until March 4 to help with the transition.
Blanford held the top position at Green Mountain Coffee for about five years.
Early in his career Kelley worked in sales for Procter & Gamble. He later worked his way up the ladder as an executive in General Electric Co.’s appliance division.
He has also headed the Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln-Mercury division as well as a global consulting firm, SIRVA Inc., which specializes in corporate relocation services.
Kelley joined Coca-Cola in 2007 as president and general manager of one of its North American units. In September, the company announced he would take over as president of Coca-Cola Refreshments in January. Now, however, he will be coming to Vermont.
“His background was a tremendous fit,” Wesley said. “There’s very few people that have the breadth of experience that he has and the track record he has.”
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