Challenges

The long-time CEO of Grange Co-op retired, and while there was a highly qualified internal candidate for the position, the Board of Directors wanted an open search to ensure that they hired the best candidate. The successful candidate needed experience interfacing directly with co-op boards, high-level leadership experience, retail experience, and familiarity with other typical supply coop activities. The new CEO would be expected to assist the Board in establishing necessary business direction to support its operating and budget plans, growth strategies, and action plans for the future.Due to the critical role of the new CEO at this juncture in Grange’s history, Morrison was engaged to perform the search based on their experience with grower cooperatives, agriculture, and other ag-related businesses.

Solutions

Morrison worked closely with the Board to define and focus in on the technical knowledge criteria as well as the cultural fit. This included in-person meetings with the Board and the Interim CEO to develop a qualifications matrix. Morrison then reached out to their extensive database, posted the job description on key job boards, and conducted searches for passive candidates (not actively looking) to find highly qualified candidates. Morrison found over 20 qualified and interested candidates; through the screening and interview process the field was narrowed to three highly qualified individuals in addition to the internal candidate – who Morrison interviewed and screened under the same criteria and approach as the external candidates. After presenting the candidates to the Board, Morrison was asked to conduct interviews of the final two candidates in conjunction with the Board.

Successes

After going through the recruitment and interview process, the Board of Directors offered the CEO position to the internal candidate, who rose to the top during the process. Morrison’s unique approach and billing model allows them to work as an extension of its client’s interests in seeking the best candidate rather than focusing only on those Morrison locates and provides. In Grange’s case and others, the top candidate already worked for the organization. Morrison’s process and approach gave the board confidence in that decision.

Our whole team was impressed with the job well done. Neil Itzen | CEO Grange Co-op

About the client

In 1934, 99 Rogue Valley growers invested $10 each to form a cooperative. Little did they know that 85 years later Grange Co-op would grow into a multi-million dollar business providing services to patrons throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California.Headquartered in Medford, Oregon, Grange Co-op today is a large and expanding grower-owned feed and supply organization. Grange’s feed mill is the only certified organic mill in Southern Oregon, providing farmers and ranchers sacked and bulk certified organic feed under the Rogue brand. The co-op also produces Rogue branded bulk fertilizer and related products, distributes gasoline and diesel, and operates seven retail stores. In addition to service to its grower-members, the retail locations are open to non-grower “partners” and the public at large, offering feed, fertilizer, home care, lawn and garden, pet care, clothing and footwear, and other products.

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