Farmer Brothers Co., the US tea and coffee supplier, is set to see its CEO and CFO leave within 24 hours of each other.
The company yesterday (6 September) announced CEO Deverl Maserang will step down by 30 September after four years at the helm.
News of Maserang’s departure comes a month after Farmer Brothers said CFO Scott Drake will leave the business on 1 October.
The exits of both executives was described by the company as “mutually agreed”.
Maserang may leave the Texas-based group sooner than the end of this month if a permanent successor is identified, Farmer Brothers said.
In the meantime, the company has lined up John Moore, its head of coffee, to assume the role of interim CEO on 1 October.
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Brad Bollner, Farmer Brothers’ vice president of finance, will step in and fill the CFO seat while the company looks for a permanent finance chief.
In Farmer Brothers’ statement yesterday, the business sought to underline how Maserang’s departure was “planned” and “not connected to any disagreements or concerns with the company’s operations, policies or practices”. He will complete his current term on the Farmer Brothers’ board, the statement read.
“Under Deverl’s leadership, Farmer Brothers implemented a multi-year turnaround effort, managed through the significant business challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, executed the sale of our direct-ship and private-label business, including our production facility and corporate office building in Northlake, Texas as we continue to optimise our manufacturing and distribution network,” chairman Alfred Poe said.
In June, the group sold several assets to US private-label food-and-beverage manufacturer TreeHouse Foods for around $100m.
Farmer Bros used the sale to pay down outstanding debt but also said the deal would allow the company to focus on direct-store delivery to help improve profits.
Maserang said yesterday: “Farmer Brothers has exciting opportunities ahead and it has been a pleasure to help position the company to realise its true potential. I look forward to working with the board on identifying new leadership at the CEO and CFO positions as the entire Farmer Brothers team continues to work hard to complete our journey to profitability.”
The group is set to report its annual results on 12 September.
In the nine months to the end of March, Farmer Brothers’ net sales were $378.3m, up 9.3% on a year earlier. More than 62% of the company’s net sales are generated from coffee.
However, the group reported a doubling in its operating losses – from $10.3m to $20.7m – and an increase in its net losses from $11.9m to $32.4m.
Farmers Brothers has been investing in its systems to boost its operational performance.
At the time of the results, Maserang said the company was starting to see the fruits of those projects.
“While our results did reflect growing pains from the aforementioned systems investments, they are also already showing their promise. We have begun receiving improved, actionable data from our new artificial intelligence-based pricing engine project, which was launched in the second quarter. This re-engineering will enable us to optimise pricing structures with our customers and, we believe, facilitate margin expansion,” he wrote to shareholders.