Baton Rouge’s Daily Report, which two months ago broke the story that Jeff Kleinpeter was taking leave from the family company (amid immense speculation he would not return), is today reporting that Kleinpeter has stepped down as president and CEO. According to the company's website, he has been the company's top exec since 2004.
The company is calling his departure a retirement.
Sister Sue Anne Kleinpeter Cox, Kleinpeter Farms Dairy's longtime chief financial officer, will replace him, the online news site reports. For the past year, the company has been plagued by quality control problems that led to early spoilage of some of its products and loss of longtime customers.
In late January, family members told Daily Report Jeff was on “temporary medical leave.”
Shortly after the story broke, Jeff Kleinpeter, who insisted he would return, released this statement:
14 months of three hour nights is enough to wear anyone out. I hung in there with the team and we got the quality back to better than it’s been in 101 years. The complaints have gone from up to 70 a week last year to one about every two to three weeks. In each of those cases, we find it’s a refrigerator issue somewhere. We are SQF certified, which is a globally-recognized food certification. Things are back on track and I need to take a sabbatical. Thank goodness we have a great team in place that includes my brother, sister, and daughter, so they can keep the upward sales momentum going. I expect to come back within 30 days to help the team grow even further.
Daily Report says the dairy announced the departure in a written statement provided to news organizations today. ABiz's request for the press release was not immediately answered.
Read Daily Report’s story here.