PLYMOUTH, Minn., May 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS) announced today that its President and Chief Executive Officer, James T. Prokopanko, is taking an anticipated medical leave of absence for surgery to treat his previously disclosed cancer. The Board of Directors has named Lawrence W. Stranghoener, 60, Interim CEO during Mr. Prokopanko's absence, effective June 1, 2014. Mr. Stranghoener has served as Mosaic's Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since the company's formation in 2004.
"It is in Mosaic's best interest, and mine, that I focus on my health during the six- to eight-week period that my doctors tell me I should expect to be out of the office for surgery and recovery," Mr. Prokopanko said. "This surgery has been part of the original plan laid out by my medical team and I am eager to take this next important step in my treatment. Larry is an outstanding leader who enjoys the deep respect of our employees and other stakeholders. I will make myself available to him and the rest of our management team, as needed, during my leave. I am looking forward to actively re-engaging in the day-to-day activities of the business once I have recovered from surgery." "The entire Board continues to wish Jim the very best and is grateful for his thoughtful and open approach," said Robert L. Lumpkins, Chairman of Mosaic's Board of Directors. "We have great confidence in Jim, Larry and the rest of the talented management team. We are looking forward to Jim's full-time return to Mosaic this summer." Mosaic also announced today that Mr. Stranghoener intends to retire at the end of 2014 and that the Board has named Richard L. Mack, 46, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer effective June 1, 2014. Upon Mr. Prokopanko's return, Mr. Stranghoener will serve as Executive Vice President – Strategy and Business Development until his retirement date and will focus on ensuring a smooth transition of his CFO duties to Mr. Mack and on advancing Mosaic's strategic objectives. After Mr. Stranghoener's retirement, his business development and strategy responsibilities will be assumed by Mr. Mack. Mr. Mack, currently Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, has served as Mosaic's General Counsel since the company's launch in 2004 and has 20 years of experience in the crop nutrition industry. In the decade prior to Mosaic's formation, he served in various capacities at Cargill, Incorporated, where he played an instrumental role in the negotiations that created Mosaic and served as a founding executive of the company. In addition to his general counsel responsibilities, Mr. Mack provides oversight of the company's phosphate mine permitting and land activities, heads Mosaic's enterprise risk management initiatives, serves on the board of directors of Ma'aden Wa'ad Al Shamal Phosphate Company and envisioned and leads Streamsong Resort. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from Minnesota State University-Moorhead, a Juris Doctor from Hamline University School of Law and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. "I am very proud of the exceptional team and business we have built over the past decade at Mosaic and appreciate Jim's and the Board's confidence in me," Mr. Stranghoener said. "Rich will be an excellent CFO for this company. He is a gifted strategic thinker, has been an exceptional partner on virtually every important finance matter impacting Mosaic over the past 10 years and has a proven talent for getting things done. I am honored to step in until Jim's return. I look forward to supporting Rich's transition into his new role and then enjoying the opportunity to spend more time with my family and pursuing my other passions during retirement."