Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of Green Plains Inc. currently consists of nine members, divided into three groups. One group of Directors is elected at each annual meeting of shareholders for a three-year term. Each year a different group of Directors is elected on a rotating basis. Todd Becker, Thomas Manuel, Brian Peterson and Alain Treuer were elected at the 2015 meeting, serving until 2018. Wayne Hoovestol and Jim Anderson were elected at the 2014 meeting, serving until 2017. The terms of James Crowley, Gordon Glade and Gene Edwards will expire at the 2016 meeting.
Chairman of the Board
Wayne Hoovestol has served as a director since March 2006 and as Chairman of the Board since October 2008. Mr. Hoovestol served as Chief Operating Officer from January 2007 to February 2007, and as Chief Executive Officer from February 2007 to December 2008 (he resigned from this position effective January 1, 2009). He was appointed as Chief Strategy Officer in March 2009. He resigned as Chief Strategy Officer in November 2009 and is no longer an employee of the Company. Mr. Hoovestol began operating Hoovestol Inc., a trucking company, in 1978. He is also President of Lone Mountain Truck Leasing, which he founded in 2005. Mr. Hoovestol became involved with the ethanol industry as an investor in 1995, and has served on the boards of two other ethanol companies. Mr. Hoovestol also served on the board of CapSource Financial, Inc., a truck trailer sales and leasing company, from May 2005 to March 2007.
Alain Treuer, who has served as a director since October 2008 and Vice Chairman since August 2015, also serves on the Nominating & Governance Committee and serves as Chairman of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Treuer is the founder of VBV LLC, which was a joint venture formed in 2006 with a vision to develop and expand ethanol production in a vertical manner in the U.S. The strategy and vision set forth with the merger of VBV LLC and Green Plains in 2008 is the foundation that Green Plains executes today. In addition, Mr. Treuer has served as TRIVON’s (VirginConnect) Chairman of the Board’s Compensation Committee since 2006. TRIVON is a member of the VIRGIN family of Sir Richard Branson. As a technology agnostic telecommunications operator, it connects its customers through the best available solution. Since 2005, Mr. Treuer has also served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Tellac Reuert Partners (TRP) SA, a global Investment firm. Prior to joining TRP SA, he was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of TIGC, a global telecommunications company that he founded in 1992 and sold in 2001. Mr. Treuer is a serial entrepreneur with nearly 30 years of vast experiences in various industries around the globe. Mr. Treuer has a Masters degree in Business Administration from the Graduate School of Business at Columbia University in New York.
Jim Anderson who has served as a director since October 2008, also serves on the Audit and Compensation Committees. Mr. Anderson is currently the Managing Director and Operating Partner at CHAMP Private Equity. Previously he served The Gavilon Group, LLC as its President and Chief Executive Officer from October 2014 until February 2016 as well as its Chief Operating Officer, Fertilizer, since February, 2010. Prior to that, he served as Chief Executive Officer and member of the board of directors at United Malt Holdings, a producer of malt for use in the brewing and distilling industries, from September 2006 to February 2010. Prior to that, beginning in April 2003, Mr. Anderson served as Chief Operating Officer / Executive Vice President of CT Malt, a joint venture between ConAgra Foods, Inc. and Tiger Brands of South Africa. Mr. Anderson’s experience in the agricultural processing and trading business includes serving as Senior Vice President and then President of ConAgra Grain Companies. His career also includes association with the firm Ferruzzi USA and as an Operations Manager for Pillsbury Company. He has also served as a Board Member of the North American Export Grain Association and the National Grain and Feed Association. Mr. Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a Finance emphasis from the University of Wisconsin - Platteville.
President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Todd Becker, who has served as President and Chief Executive Officer since January 2009, was appointed as a director in March 2009. Mr. Becker has also served as President and Chief Executive Officer, as well as a director, of the general partner of Green Plains Partners LP since March 2015. Mr. Becker served as our President and Chief Operating Officer from October 2008 to December 2008. He served as Chief Executive Officer of VBV LLC from May 2007 to October 2008. Mr. Becker was Executive Vice President of Sales and Trading at Global Ethanol from May 2006 to May 2007. Prior to that, he worked for ten years at ConAgra Foods, Inc. in various management positions including Vice President of International Marketing for ConAgra Trade Group and President of ConAgra Grain Canada. Mr. Becker has over 28 years of related experience in various commodity processing businesses, risk management and supply chain management, along with extensive international trading experience in agricultural markets. Mr. Becker served on the board of directors, including its audit and compensation committees, for Hillshire Brands Company from 2012 to 2014. Mr. Becker has a master’s degree in Finance from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with a Finance emphasis from the University of Kansas. Mr. Becker is qualified to serve as a director because he provides an insider’s perspective about our business and strategic direction to Board discussions. His extensive commodity experience and leadership make him an essential member of the Board.
James Crowley who has served as a director since October 2008, also serves as chairman of the Audit Committee. Mr. Crowley has been Chairman and Managing Partner of Old Strategic, LLC since July 2006. His previous experience includes service as Chairman and Managing Partner of Strategic Research Institute, President of Global Investment and Merchant Banking at Prudential Securities, and investment banking at Smith Barney Harris Upham & Co. He currently serves on the board and is chairman of the audit committee of Core Molding Technologies, is on the board of trustees for the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and has served on a number of educational and not-for-profit boards. Mr. Crowley has a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Wharton Graduate School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Villanova University. He has also completed corporate governance programs at the Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate Business School, Stanford Law School and Northwestern University.
Gene Edwards who was appointed as a director in June 2014, also serves on the Audit and Compensation Committees. Mr. Edwards served as Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Valero Energy Corporation until his retirement in April 2014. He began his 32-year career at Valero as an Analyst in Planning and Economics and spent his tenure with Valero in various managerial positions in Planning and Economics, Refinery Operations, Business Development, and Marketing. Mr. Edwards was a key driver in Valero’s entry into the ethanol business and helped the segment become a successful part of its overall business. He served on the Board of Directors of CST Brands, Inc. from May 2013 to December 2013. Mr. Edwards holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Tulane University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Gordon Glade who has served as a director since December 2007, also serves on the Audit and the Nominating and Governance Committees. Mr. Glade is a significant shareholder of Amur Equipment Financing (formerly AXIS Capital Inc.), a commercial equipment leasing company, for which he had also served as its President and Chief Executive Officer from 1996 to 2016. In addition, he is a current investor in several other ethanol companies. Mr. Glade also serves as Vice President and a director of the Edgar Reynolds Foundation and as a director of the Brunswick State Bank. Mr. Glade has a Bachelor of Science degree in both Accounting and Finance from Texas Christian University.
Ejnar Knudsen who has served as a director since May 2016, and also serves on the Audit Committee. Mr. Knudsen is the founder and CEO of AGR Partners, and oversees the firm's strategy with investments totaling over $400 million in food processors, manufacturers and agribusinesses. From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Knudsen was co-portfolio manager of Passport Capital's Agriculture Fund. Prior to Passport Capital, Mr. Knudsen served as EVP of Western Milling, a grain and feed milling company that grew from a small California startup to over $1 billion in sales. Mr. Knudsen also spent ten years with Rabobank, in its New York office, managing a loan portfolio and venture capital investments as well as providing corporate advisory services. Mr. Knudsen is a director of Opal Foods, Icicle Seafoods, Ridley Corp (RIC.ASX), and Materra Farming. Mr. Knudsen received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University and is a CFA charger holder.
Thomas Manuel has served as a director since May 2015, and also serves on the Compensation and the Nominating and Governance Committees. Mr. Manuel serves as Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Nu-Tek Salt, LLC, a food ingredients processing company, a position he has held since August 2011. Prior to that, he served as Chief Executive Officer of Aventine Renewable Energy, Inc., an ethanol producer from March 2010 to August 2011. From May 2002 to August 2011, Mr. Manuel served as Managing Director of International Strategy Advisors, LLC, providing transaction advisory services to private equity investors in the agribusiness and food industries. From 1977 until 2002, Mr. Manuel held various senior management positions with ConAgra Foods, Inc. including trading in domestic and international food ingredients, grain and energy, and grain and meat processing of various types. Mr. Manuel has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.
Brian Peterson who has served as a director since May 2005, also serves as chairman of the Nominating and Governance Committee. Mr. Peterson currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Whiskey Creek Enterprises. Mr. Peterson served as our Executive Vice President in charge of site development from 2005 to October 2008. Mr. Peterson was the sole founder and owner of Superior Ethanol LLC, which was acquired by us in 2006. For over twenty years, he has owned and operated grain farming entities which now includes acreages in Iowa, Arkansas and South Dakota. Additionally, he built, owns and operates a cattle feedlot in northwest Iowa. Mr. Peterson has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Business from Dordt College.