ATCHISON, KANSAS, U.S. — MGP Ingredients, Inc. has hired Heidrick & Struggles, Inc., an executive search firm based in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., to assist with the recruitment of a new chief executive officer (CEO). The firm is expected to work with a search committee established by the company’s board of directors.

MGPI terminated Tim Newkirk as CEO in December without cause as part of a settlement agreement with the Cray group, which includes members of the company’s founding Cray family.

“We are very excited to move forward with this key step in the process of finding the right CEO to lead our company,” said Cloud L. (Bud) Cray, chairman of MGPI. “The board has great confidence in the capabilities of Heidrick & Struggles and is pleased to have been able to engage this highly regarded firm to assist us.”

Currently, Randy Schrick and Don Tracy are filling the roles of interim co-CEOs. Schrick is vice-president of engineering at the company, and Tracy is vice-president of finance and chief financial officer.