Karen Seaberg has been named chairwoman of MGP Ingredients Inc., continuing a long family leadership legacy at the Atchison, Kan., company.
Seaberg is the granddaugther of the late Cloud L. Cray Sr., who founded the producer of beverage alcohols and grain-based ingredients for consumer packaged goods in 1941. Her appointment took effect immediately.
She succeeds her father, Cloud L. “Bud” Cray, who was chairman during the past year as well as from 1980 to 2005. Cray will remain on MGP’s board as chairman emeritus.
Seaberg has been a director since 2009. Her husband, Ladd Seaberg, was chairman of MGP from 2005 until retiring in 2009. He also was chief executive and president for 28 years.
Seaberg is the first woman to serve as board chair for the company. She has more than 20 years of experience as an executive travel agent. She is also a co-owner with her husband of an area Long John Silver’s franchise and served five years as the managing executive of the former RiverHouse Restaurant in Atchison.
MGP has undergone a leadership transformation over the past year. Earlier this year Gus Griffin, a veteran of the beverage alcohol industry, was named chief executive officer. He filled a vacancy created last December after months of internal fighting over the direction of the company.
Key stockholders, directors and management had engaged in a battle last year that produced court actions, long delays in the annual shareholders meeting and media campaigns in the community. A settlement last December included the resignation of then chief executive Tim Newkirk.