Atchison-based MGP fills CEO post after a seven-month search

07/24/2014 9:15 AM

07/24/2014 3:45 PM

MGP Ingredients Inc. has named Gus Griffin, a veteran of the beverage alcohol industry, as its chief executive officer, filling a vacancy created last December after months of internal fighting at the Atchison, Kan., company.

Griffin, most recently the executive vice president of marketing at Next Level Spirits in California, became president and chief executive of MGP Ingredients. MGP produces beverage alcohols and grain-based ingredients for consumer packaged goods.

Previously, Griffin had been brand and business consultant for Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery in Nashville, where he was involved in developing and launching Belle Meade Bourbon.

He spent 24 years with Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniel’s and Southern Comfort, including work in Asia and Europe for the Louisville business.

“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 in the announcement.

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 in December included the resignation of then-chief executive Tim Newkirk.

MGP chairman Bud Cray, whose family founded the company and still holds a substantial stake, said in the announcement that Griffin “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.”

To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to mdavis@kcstar.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at mdkcstar.

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