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Benson Hill CEO resigns, interim leader named

Co-founder Matt Crisp agreed to step down as company begins search for new CEO.

1 Benson Hill Hq
Courtesy of Benson Hill

Matt CrispMatt CrispCourtesy of Benson HillBenson Hill co-founder Matt Crisp has agreed to resign as CEO, the company announced June 16.

Replacing Crisp on an interim basis is Adrienne “Deanie” Elsner, a Benson Hill board member and a former Kellogg Co. and Kraft Foods executive. 

Crisp, who helped co-found the company 11 years ago, will serve as consultant to the board for 12 months to ensure a smooth transition as the board initiates a search for the company's next CEO.

"I know I am leaving the company in capable hands, and I intend to work closely with Deanie to ensure a smooth transition for our stakeholders," said Crisp.

As the company begins to focus on the execution required to navigate the current operating landscape, Crisp said he and the board have decided now is the right time to begin transitioning Benson Hill’s leadership.

“I co-founded Benson Hill with the goal of bringing necessary innovation and disruption that has been sorely lacking across the agrifood value chain," said Crisp. "From attracting the best team in our industry, to developing best-in-class platforms like CropOS and Crop Accelerator, to acquiring key facilities and vertically integrating to achieve our go-to-market strategy, we have established a foundation for growth that is poised to reshape the future of food production."

Dan Jacobi, chairman of the board of directors, said Elsner has significant operating experience and a record of delivering results in complex organizations. 

Elsner recently served as president, CEO and director of Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc., a vertically integrated company focused on hemp-derived CBD extract products, from 2019 to 2021. Prior to that, she served as president, U.S. Snacks, Kellogg Company. Before that, she worked with Kraft Foods, Quaker Oats, Johnson & Johnson and Procter & Gamble. 

"We are confident that she is the right person to lead the company as we identify a permanent leader to take Benson Hill into its next phase," said Jacobi.

Benson Hill appoints independent director to board

Benson Hill also announced it has appointed Richard Mack as an independent director to the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

Mack will serve on the board’s audit and risk committee and compensation committee. With his appointment, the board will comprise nine directors, seven of whom are independent. 

Mack brings nearly 30 years of leadership experience to the board. He previously served as executive vice president and CFO of The Mosaic Co., a global leader in the crop nutrient industry. Mosaic was formed through the spin-off and merger of Cargill Inc.’s fertilizer business units with IMC Global Inc. in 2004, which Mack served as a founding executive.

“Rich is a highly respected industry executive with a record of building and growing companies in the agribusiness industry," said Jacobi. "We look forward to benefiting from his deep experience and expertise in finance and advancing strategic initiatives."

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