Beverage alcohol industry executive Gus Griffin will be joining Kansas-based MGP Ingredients Inc. as president and CEO, effective July 28.
Griffin brings a wealth of marketing and management leadership qualifications to his role, including significant and progressive experience with Brown-Forman Corp., where he ultimately served as senior vice president and global managing director in charge of the company's flagship Jack Daniel's business. His selection for the top executive post at MGP concludes an extensive nationwide search to fill this position, which Randy Schrick, vice president of engineering, and Don Tracy, vice president of finance and CFO, had shared on an interim basis since December 2013.
"We are very pleased and excited to welcome Gus to our company in such an important capacity," said MGP Board Chairman Cloud L. "Bud" Cray.
"We feel equally fortunate to have found someone who wholeheartedly embraces MGP's philosophy and culture of teamwork and places a high value on community support and involvement, as well as effectively meeting customers' needs. Gus' business credentials and achievements are extraordinarily impressive, and we have the greatest confidence in his abilities to create added value for all stakeholders as he leads MGP into the future. While his multiple talents have primarily been focused on the development and execution of beverage alcohol growth strategies, we are certain his expertise will not only greatly benefit our distilled spirits business, but our ingredients business segment as well."
Griffin most recently spent a year as executive vice president of marketing for Next Level Spirits, a northern California-based producer, importer and distributor of premium wine and spirits brands. His responsibilities in that position included establishing strategic planning disciplines and spearheading all aspects of corporate, consumer and trade marketing. Just prior to that, between 2011 and 2013, Griffin served as brand and business consultant for Nelson's Green Brier Distillery, Nashville, Tenn., where he performed a key advisory role in that company's development and launch of Belle Meade Bourbon.
"I am excited to join MGP and to have the opportunity to help shape the next stage of the company's proud history," Griffin said. "MGP has a rich heritage, a strong reputation for quality and innovation, and all areas of the business have significant growth potential. I am impressed with the level of passion and commitment of the employees and board members and look forward to working with them to drive long-term growth."
Griffin's career with Brown-Forman, a leading global wine and spirits company with annual sales of approximately $4 billion, spanned 24 years. He joined that company, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., as a merchandising representative in 1987 and later moved into sales management. From 1990 to 1997, he advanced through a series of increasingly important brand management roles in Brown-Forman's U.S.
Griffin is a native of central Pennsylvania and was educated at the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, Va., where he received a bachelor of arts degree in economics in 1982 and a master's degree in business administration in 1987. He is a past board member of Hartmann Luggage, a former subsidiary of Brown-Forman.