ATCHISON, KAS. — John R. Speirs, a member of the board of directors at MGP Ingredients Inc. since 2004, has been named chairman of the company, effective immediately. He succeeds Ladd Seaberg, a director for 30 years and chairman since October 2006, who retired on Aug. 27.

Mr. Speirs is the chairman and co-founder of Stellus Consulting, a Minneapolis-based strategy consulting firm created in 2001 that specializes in business strategy, strategic visioning, merger and acquisition support and branding strategy. From 1998 to 2000 he was executive vice-president of marketing for Diageo P.L.C. and from 1989 to 1998 he held various positions with Pillsbury, including senior vice-president of strategy and brand development. Earlier, he was senior vice-president of marketing at Lever Brothers.

Mr. Seaberg, who said his decision to retire was based on his desire "to focus additional time on other non-business-related activities and priorities" and was "partially influenced by health-related reasons," will continue in a consulting capacity to the board and company management for approximately two years. Mr. Seaberg was president of MGPI from 1980 to 2006, and held the additional role of chief executive officer from 1986 to 2006.

"I have been associated with MGP Ingredients throughout my entire professional career and have participated in numerous significant changes over the course of the company’s evolvement, including several major expansion projects, plant and technological upgrades, product diversifications and, more recently, an extensive internal restructuring process," Mr. Seaberg said. "It certainly has been a very exciting and rewarding experience and I am deeply grateful to everyone for the hard work and support they have provided during my many years in leadership positions at the company."

Mr. Seaberg’s spot on MGPI’s board will be filled by his wife, Karen. Ms. Seaberg is a local business entrepreneur and community leader, and has been nominated to complete her husband’s current term, which expires in October 2011. Ms. Seaberg’s father, Cloud L. (Bud) Cray, is a past chairman of MGPI and a current member of the board of directors.

"I look forward to my new responsibilities and the opportunity to serve this outstanding company in such a capacity," Ms. Seaberg said. "I have gained an in-depth understanding of MGPI’s business operations, markets and strategic initiatives through the years and am enthusiastic about performing a key role as a director for the good of all who have a stake in our company’s future."