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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 4, April 2012, Posted On: 3/27/2012

Farmer Bros. Taps Keown President And CEO

Tim Sanford
food service, office coffee service, vending business, coffee service, coffee roaster, Farmer Bros. Co., Michael Keown, WhiteWave Foods Co., Dean Foods, Jeffrey Wahba, Patrick Criteser

TORRANCE, CA -- Michael Keown has joined Farmer Bros. Co. as president and chief executive. He comes to the company from WhiteWave Foods Co. (Broomfield, CO), a subsidiary of Dean Foods, where he had served as president, Indulgent Brands.

Farmer Bros. board chairman Guenter Berger added the Keown, whose previous experience includes positions with The Procter & Gamble Co. (Cincinnati) and The Minute Maid Co. (Houston), brings experience with major foodservice customers to his new post that will be of great value to Farmer Bros. in attaining its goal of becoming the nation's preeminent supplier of coffee and culinary products to the foodservice industry.

Keown's appointment as president and chief executive enables Jeffrey Wahba and Patrick Criteser, who have served as interim co-CEOs, to resume their regular duties. Berger reported that they led an "impressive financial turnaround" over the past year, Wahba is treasurer and chief financial officer of Farmer Bros. Co.; Criteser is president and chief executive of its Coffee Bean International subsidiary.

Farmer Bros. produces and distributes coffee, tea and culinary products to foodservice clients ranging from restaurants and hotels to hospitals, casinos and providers of foodservice. It also sells to consumers through convenience stores, coffee houses, grocery stores and private-label retailers throughout the 48 contiguous states. The company offers roasted and liquid coffees, coffee-related products including creamers and sweeteners, cappuccinos and teas, cocoa, soups and spices, gravy and sauce mixes, pancake and biscuit mixes and jellies and preserves. Farmer Bros., which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, played a major role in the emergence of modern office coffee service more than 40 years ago.

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