Jeff Broin, founder of POET, a leading producer in the ethanol industry, has resumed his role as the firm's chief executive officer. He was previously CEO but moved out of that position and stepped into the executive chairman role for the last three and one-half years. The announcement that he is returning as CEO was made last Friday.
"A few years ago, I wanted to slow down a bit, be less involved in the affairs of POET and have time to do other things and spend more time with my family. In the last few years I have been able to work on broader industry and ag issues, get our new foundation – Seeds of Change – up and running and support several third-world causes. However, I also found myself continuing to work regularly on company issues.
"The fact is, my passion and love for this company, our industry, agriculture and the people I work with is just too great. I guess you could say my heart has always been in this company. We have so many great opportunities in front of us to change the world, and I think I can be of most value moving forward by serving as CEO," Broin said.
POET is building up its volume of cellulosic ethanol production
Jeff Lautt has been CEO and will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of POET as president and chief operating officer. Broin emphasized the success of POET under Lautt's leadership.
"Jeff Lautt has done an outstanding job as CEO of POET. He's been an effective and gracious leader for our team members and investors. In fact, 2014 was a record year at POET, and our cellulosic venture – Project LIBERTY – is advancing toward full operations.
"I could not have asked for a better person to take on this role, and POET will continue to benefit from his direction as president," Broin said.
Likewise, Lautt has favorable comments to say about Broin. "No one is more passionate about this company and the ethanol industry than Jeff Broin. This business is in his blood," Lautt said. "He built a world leader, and it's no surprise that he would want to continue that work. I'm honored to have been entrusted as CEO of POET over the last few years, and I look forward to continuing my leadership as president and chief operating officer of POET."
Company got its start on the Broin family farm in 1980s
After early small-scale ethanol production on the Broin family farm, POET got its start in 1987 with the purchase of a 1 million gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Scotland, S.D. From there, the company has grown to be one of the largest ethanol producers in the world, with 1.7 billion gallons of production today from 28 plants in seven states.
With a focus on research and market development, POET has pioneered new efficiencies in biofuels production as well as development and improvement of co-products to make ethanol the most competitive, renewable, domestic fuel in the market today, says Broin.
POET, along with the Dutch life sciences company DSM, is working to license cellulosic ethanol technology to further grow the world's supply of sustainable transportation fuel.