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Green Mountain Coffee Picks Coke Exec As New CEO

Tue, 11/20/2012 - 8:29am

WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) -- Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. on Tuesday named Coca-Cola executive Brian Kelley as its new CEO amid the coffee company's expectation for slowing sales growth.

Kelley, 51, will also become president and join the coffee company's board, effective Dec. 3

The company's current CEO, Lawrence Blanford, had said in February that he planned to retire. He took over as the Waterbury, Vt., company's chief executive from its founder, Robert Stiller, in 2007.

Green Mountain Coffee pioneered single-serve coffee in the U.S. with its Keurig machines and grew quickly on their popularity.

But the company has struggled as patents on technology for its K-Cups expired and competitors released their own single-serve coffee makers — including coffee chain giant Starbucks Corp. Green Mountain Coffee has said that its sales growth would moderate from the fast run-up over the past few years, and its shares are down 39 percent this year.

Kelley had been on track to become president of Coca-Cola Refreshments, Coca-Cola Co.'s North America business unit, starting on Jan. 1. He joined Coca-Cola in 2007 and has served as Coca Cola Refreshments' chief product supply officer since 2010.

Green Mountain Coffee shares rose 97 cents, or 3.6 percent, to $28.30 in premarket trading.

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