Green Mountain Names New CEO

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Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ: GMCR) has had its share of troubles in the past year or so. Today, though, the company has announced that it has found a new president and chief executive officer, Brian Kelley, who had recently been named as president of the North America business unit of The Coca-Cola Co. (NYSE: KO). Kelley was scheduled to begin his new position with Coke in January.

Kelley replaces Larry Blanford as CEO effective December 3. Blanford had signed a contract with Green Mountain through December of 2013, and the company’s interim board chairman said that although the transition to a new CEO was a little early, “Larry is totally ok with that.”

There’s no doubt that Kelley faces some challenges. There’s competition from Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX), Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) and a host of others for the single-cup coffee business that Green Mountain practically invented with its Keurig machines.

Investor David Einhorn took a very public short position in the stock and sent shares tumbling from a high of around $115 to today’s more modest $28.

The company’s founder and former board chairman got stuck with a margin call in May and had to dump 5 million shares of Green Mountain stock.

And the SEC investigation into Green Mountain’s accounting practices and the way it recognizes revenues continues in the background, ready to spring out and muddy things even more.

Shareholders like the new appointment though. Green Mountain’s shares are up about 4.3% in premarket trading this morning at $28.50, in a 52-week range of $17.11 to $71.51.

Paul Ausick

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