ATCHISON, KANSAS, U.S. — MGP Ingredients Inc. (MGP) announced on Aug. 18 the election of food industry executive David Colo to the company’s board of directors, to fill a vacancy created by the retirement of Cloud L. “Bud” Cray.

Colo currently serves as executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Diamond Foods, Inc., San Francisco, California, U.S. 

“On behalf of the entire board, it gives me great pleasure to welcome David as our newest director,” said Chairperson Karen Seaberg. “His vast experience as a leading executive of major food companies is highly impressive, and will enable him to provide a great deal of knowledge and insight beneficial to the achievement of MGP’s mission and growth strategies. We look forward to the leadership qualities he brings to the board and are very excited he has agreed to accept this role with our company.”

For approximately three years before joining Diamond Foods, Colo served as an independent industry consultant, focusing on organizational optimization and planning.  From 2005 -09, he had leadership positions in the consumer products division of ConAgra Foods, Inc., including roles as senior vice-president of sales and operations planning, senior vice-president of enterprise manufacturing and senior vice-president of operations. From 2003-05, he served as president of ConAgra Food Ingredients.

Before his employment at ConAgra Foods, Colo spent several years with Nestle-Purina Pet Care Company in roles of increasing responsibility, including vice-president of supply for the company’s Golden Products Division, and vice-president of store brands and venture development.  He also served for two years as president of the American Dehydrated Onion and Garlic Association.

“I am honored to be joining the board of MGP Ingredients and look forward to working with Karen Seaberg, the board and the MGP leadership team as they build on the strong foundation and recent successes of the company,” Colo said.

Seaberg also expressed deep gratitude to Cray for, “the outstanding service he has provided to the board and company for almost 70 years.”  As his daughter, she spoke to the guidance he has given her and the examples he has set on “how to lead with a visionary approach and an optimistic attitude that anything is achievable if one is determined and willing to work hard toward a positive goal.” She added, “I have the utmost respect for my father and, together with my fellow directors, applaud all of the great things he has done over the years to make MGP a stronger and increasingly progressive business.”

Cray joined MGP as a full-time executive in 1947. He succeeded his father, Cloud L. Cray, Sr., as president in 1962 and held that position until being made chief executive officer and beginning his first term as board chairman in 1980. In 1988, he turned over the role of CEO to his son-in-law, Ladd Seaberg, who succeeded him as president eight years earlier.

On Jan. 1, 1995, Cray retired from internal management of the company, choosing to continue his involvement in MGP through his role on the board. He was succeeded as chairman of the board by Ladd Seaberg in 2006. He resumed his role as chairman in May 2014 and was succeeded by his daughter, Karen Seaberg, at the end of that year.

“It has been my distinct privilege to serve this great company in a variety of leadership capacities over the past many years,” Cray said.  “My tenure has been a link between my father, Cloud L. Cray, Sr., who founded the company, and my daughter, Karen, who has so ably succeeded me as board chair. Her husband, Ladd Seaberg, was also an important part of carrying on our family legacy until having to step down due to health issues.  I know that Karen will provide outstanding leadership while continuing the Cray family legacy of unyielding devotion to this company and its shareholders, employees and the communities it serves.”