Chobani to Replace CEO and Founder with Turnaround Expert

Image Yogurt maker Chobani announced it will name a new chief executive to replace its founder and may appoint its acting president, a turnaround expert from private equity firm TPG, which lent the company $750 million last year. The company plans to name a new CEO in the first half of 2015 and replace company founder Hamdi Ulukaya – the top contender is currently interim president and COO Kevin Burns.
 
Ulukaya will remain chairman, according to Chobani's CMO Peter McGuinness. Since April the company has been searching for a CEO and has identified several qualified candidates, including Burns. Ulukaya will aid in the selection of the new "operationally based" CEO and remain involved in day-to-day business on the product side.
 
Burns, the partner in charge of TPG's manufacturing/industry sector, is regarded as a manufacturing and turnaround expert. He has also been serving as Chobani's interim president and COO since August.
 
Last April, TPG invested $750 million in the New Berlin, New York-based company to save it from a cash crunch blamed on startup problems at its Idaho manufacturing plant. Those pains were intensified due to a 2013 product recall, record milk prices and competition from established yogurt brands. Since the investment Chobani has reduced waste, improved customer service and introduced a variety of new products, including yogurt for babies and dessert lovers. (consumergoods.edgl.com)

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