After 25 years at the helm of New Belgium Brewing, co-founder Kim Jordan will step down as CEO and transition into a new role as executive chair of the brewery’s Board of Directors, the company announced today.
Current president and chief operations officer Christine Perich, who began her career at New Belgium in 2000 and has also previously served as the company’s chief financial officer, has been named CEO. She will take over on October 9, the company said.
In a conversation with Brewbound, Jordan said it was time for her to take a step back from day-to-day responsibilities and move into a “higher-level strategic role.”
“I have been doing this for 25 years,” she said. “This kind of transition is inevitable and we think it is better to plan for it, rather than wait until people are absolutely burnt out. Christine is enthusiastic, young, and energetic, and it is a good time to make that cutover.”
“She [Perich] has been preparing for this for years,” Jordan added.
In a news release, New Belgium said the move would allow Perich to “focus on short-term strategy, leading the executive team, industry leadership and running day-to-day operations.”
“After spending the past 15 years as a part of the New Belgium team, I am incredibly excited for this opportunity,” Perich said in the statement. “With Kim’s continued guidance as Executive Chair and the strength of our management team, I feel very confident in our ability to drive the business forward while honoring all the fundamental elements that have made New Belgium so successful.”
Jordan, 56, launched New Belgium in 1991 with then-husband Jeff Lebesch. The company has grown to become the country’s fourth largest craft brewery, according to the Brewers Association and in 2014 produced 945,367 barrels of beer.
New Belgium is 100-percent employee-owned and Perich was instrumental in guiding the company through its second employee stock ownership program (ESOP) transaction in 2012.
“With Christine’s years of experience as CFO, COO and President, she is abundantly qualified to step into this position, allowing me to focus on long-term strategy and vision,” Jordan said in the release. “I have complete faith in her ability. We’re excited for this next chapter in our collective history.”
As executive chair, Jordan is still considered a New Belgium employee and, therefore, retains her ESOP shares.
Jordan said she plans to spend more time working with the New Belgium Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that she co-founded in 2012 using proceeds from the sale of New Belgium. The organization focuses on projects involving renewable energy, alternative transportation and sustainable agriculture and, in some cases, will make direct investments in companies that “are consistent with the organization’s mission,” Jordan said.