Riceland Foods announced Monday that Jason Brancel has been named president and Chief Executive Officer of the company by the Board of Directors. An extensive nationwide selection process identified Brancel as successor to Danny Kennedy, who retired in July 2021.
“Jason has nearly three decades of impactful cooperative leadership experience, four years of which were with the largest farmer owned cooperative in the United States,” said Riceland Board Chairman, Roger Pohlner. “He is the ideal value-driven, fiscally responsible and forward looking leader for Riceland as it adapts and grows into its second century of service to its farmer-members, employees, customers and suppliers. We enthusiastically welcome Jason to Riceland Foods.”
Brancel’s experience in cooperative leadership was the defining factor in the Board’s hiring decision. At present, Brancel serves as the president and CEO of Agfinity, Inc of Loveland, Colorado. He is regularly invited to speak at agribusiness industry events and participate in thought leadership roundtables on topics such as credit and finance, governance, organizational structures, leading change and the evolving agribusiness landscape. His leadership places an emphasis on organizational culture, collaborative working relationships across members and cooperative team members, integrating effective data-driven tools that promote a positive work environment and a sustainable values-based organizational culture.
A Selection Committee comprised of six members of the Board of Directors conducted a rigorous and wide-ranging search beginning in July 2021. FCCS, a provider of specialized executive searches in the cooperative agriculture segment, was engaged to facilitate the recruitment process. A large initial prospect pool of 29 candidates was identified, considered, and narrowed in stages until a final round of four candidates was considered by the full Board of Directors. The Board unanimously approved Jason Brancel as the final selection.
Looking forward to taking the helm, Brancel said, “At the end of the day, my goal is to inspire our team to provide innovative solutions to challenges members find difficult to solve on their own. I eagerly look forward to learning from and working closely with the Riceland Foods team while also traveling throughout our member service area to engage with our farmer-members, so that together we can build upon the success Riceland has found in creating solutions over the last 100 years.”
Brancel has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin- Platteville. In service to the ag sector and community, he presently serves on the Land O’Lakes Executive Council representing Region Three, and the Northern Colorado and Wyoming Better Business Bureau’s Board of Directors. His past volunteer leadership activities were centered around youth education, economic development and financial institution board service.
Brancel’s employment with Riceland will commence in April. Andrew Dallas, who has been serving as interim president as well as vice president and legal counsel for the last nine months will continue as vice president and general counsel.