On behalf of the Board of Directors, I share with you today that Carol Kitchen, President & CEO will be pursing an exciting new opportunity that will afford her, her husband Jim and their son Jack, the chance to relocate to Central Illinois and be much closer to their family.
Carol joined UFA in April of 2015 and at a time that our co-operative was struggling operationally and financially. We have seen a remarkable turnaround under Carol’s leadership. In 2015, the co-operative achieved earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) of $17 million and was not in any position to pay patronage earnings to our membership. Contrast that with our results from 2018 where we achieved EBITDA of $77 million and paid patronage of $14 million. While this is a remarkable turnaround from a financial perspective, I know from talking with our members and customers that we are much better operationally and that we are serving their needs well today. I want to thank Carol, on behalf of the Board of Directors, our delegates, employees and all of us at UFA, for her leadership, time and dedication to UFA, and ultimately for leaving UFA in a much better place than when she got here.
A search for a new President & CEO will begin immediately. Carol has provided us with plenty of notice and will remain in place as our President & CEO until her departure on July 26, 2019, giving us ample time to begin our search for her replacement. Perhaps one of Carol’s greatest achievements at UFA was the strong team that she has built. In the event that a President & CEO is not found prior to her departure, I know that UFA is in very capable hands and that our senior leadership team will be able to run our cooperative until our new President & CEO is in place.
On behalf of UFA, we wish Carol and her family all the best, and we will miss her and her leadership at UFA.