Green Mountain appoints former P&G, Coke exec as new CEO

WATERBURY, Vt. — Green Mountain Coffee Roasters has named former P&G and Coca-Cola executive Brian Kelley as its new president and CEO, effective Dec. 3.

Kelley replaces Lawrence Blanford, who held the company’s top spot since 2007 and announced his plans to retire in Feb. With Blanford at its helm, Green Mountain acquired Keurig, a manufacturer of single-cup coffee machines, in 2006, making it one of the fastest-growing U.S. companies. Although the company’s market value increased five-fold with Blanford in charge, shares fell 41% this year.

Kelley comes on board during trying times for Green Mountain. Its patents are now expired and it faces increased competition from low-cost rivals. Green Mountain is also fending off questions about its business model and accounting practices.

"GMCR is a company with strong character and compelling purpose, coupled with strong brands and products about which consumers are passionate. With its truly disruptive Keurig brewing technology, GMCR's accomplished something unique in the world of consumer products: it is changing consumer behavior by changing the way we brew and enjoy coffee," said Kelley. "I am honored and excited by the opportunity to lead this organization whose products have sparked unparalleled growth in specialty coffee, and I look forward to working with its dedicated employees to drive continued growth and to deliver new innovations."

Kelley joined Coca-Cola in 2007 as president and GM, Still Beverages and Supply Chain North America. The business consisted of all Coca-Cola juices, waters, teas, sports drinks, enhanced waters and energy drinks. He was charged with 15 major brands, including Vitaminwater, Smartwater, Simply, Minute Maid, odwalla, Fuze, Nestea, Dasani, Powerade and Gold Peak.

Kelley was chief product supply officer of Coca-Cola Refreshments since Oct. 2010, and was named president of Coca-Cola Refreshments in Sept. 2012, which was to be effective Jan. 1, 2013. In his prior role as president of North America Business Integration, he led the total integration of the acquisition of the North American assets of Coca-Cola Enterprises, combining Coca-Cola North America and Coca-Cola Enterprises' North American operations into a new company, Coca-Cola Refreshments.