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McClatchy-Tribune  07/24/2014 1:48 PM ET
Atchison-based MGP fills CEO post after seven-month search [The Kansas City Star :: ]

July 24--MGP Ingredients Inc. named a veteran of the beverage alcohol industry as its chief executive officer, filling a vacancy created in December after months of internal battle at the Atchison, Kan.-based company.

Gus Griffin, most recently the executive vice president of marketing at California-based Next Level Spirits, 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, Tenn., where he was involved in developing and launching Belle Meade Bourbon.

He spent 24 years with Brown-Forman, the maker of Jack Daniels and Southern Comfort, including work in Asia and Europe for the Louisville, Ky.-based 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. "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."

Key stockholders, directors and management had engaged in a lengthy battle last year that produced court battles, 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 significant 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 Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @mdkcstar.


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