Independent Chairman John Speirs Discusses the Company's Plan to Create Stockholder Value and Commitment to the Atchison Community
A CANDID CONVERSATION WITH JOHN R. SPEIRS CHAIRMAN OF MGP INGREDIENTS, INC. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND AND WHY DID YOU JOIN MGP? I have been fortunate to serve on the MGP Board since 2004 and as Chairman since 2009. I was very familiar with MGP through my work with them as a client of Stellus Consulting, a Minneapolis-based strategy consulting firm I co-founded, as well as through my 35 years of leadership experience across companies in the food and alcohol industries including, Diageo PLC, Pillsbury and Lever Brothers. Bud Cray, the Chairman at the time, and Ladd Seaberg, the CEO, asked me to join the Board, which I did because I had tremendous respect for them and MGP, and I was excited about its future potential. Importantly, I also appreciated that the founding Cray family wanted to bring in professional leadership to help take MGP to the next level and ensure ALL stockholders would benefit. It was – and is today – a place where I felt my skills and experience could be put to good use helping a great company grow and succeed. WHAT ARE "INDEPENDENT" DIRECTORS AND WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT AT MGP? Independent directors are members of the Board of Directors who are not part of the management team. In companies where there is a very large owner, like the Cray family at MGP, independent also means people who are not in some way connected with the family.