Riceland Foods Inc. of Stuttgart on Friday named Kevin McGilton CEO effective immediately.
McGilton, a 20-year veteran of the agricultural cooperative, replaces Jason Brancel in the role. Brancel joined the co-op in March 2022.
“We are immensely confident in Kevin’s ability to lead our cooperative during this transition, and the entire Board of Directors stands behind him in support of his new task,” Rich Hillman, the vice chairman of the Riceland’s board, said in a news release.
Roger Pohlner, chairman of the board, said in a statement that the co-op is “fostering an environment where every voice is heard and respected.”
“The Board has considered the experiences of both Members and Employees and determined that a change in leadership is the right step to ensure Riceland’s legacy as the largest miller and marketer of rice will continue a trajectory of growth and value to its membership for years to come,” he said.
McGilton previously served as vice president of government affairs and chief of staff. Before joining Riceland, he worked as director of government affairs for USA Rice Federation in Washington, D.C. He got his start in the industry in 1995, working as an assistant branch manager for the Louis Dreyfus Company in McGehee.
Brancel had joined Riceland in 2022 following a nationwide search to replace Danny Kennedy, who retired after 21 years, 14 of those as CEO. Kennedy had succeeded longtime Riceland leader Richard Bell.
Brancel had previously led agricultural cooperative Agfinity Inc. of Loveland, Colorado, for more than six years. He had been the unanimous choice of the Riceland board to take over as chief executive.
Riceland has more than 5,000 farmer members and more than 1,500 employees. At its annual meeting in Jonesboro last month, the co-op reported annual revenue of $1.3 billion and distribution to members of $788 million. Riceland said its working capital improved 22% compared to the previous year, and income before taxes was $11.1 million compared with $9 million the previous year.