Challenges

While Whitney Warren Ranch is family-owned, a diverse local Board of Directors and a related family organization based on the East Coast provide oversight for the farming operation. The owners were looking to fill a vacancy on the Board but needed to find a director who possessed a unique combination of “boots on the ground” grower experience, a deep understanding of California agriculture, with a strong finance background, and who would also be adept at interfacing with those in the East Coast business context. Having previously engaged Morrison for Business and Accounting Advisory services and recruitments, Whitney Warren Ranch chose Morrison for this distinctive board recruitment due to Morrison’s high level and extensive contacts and relationships throughout California agriculture.

Solutions

Morrison worked closely with the Board of Directors to design the search. Because of the highly specific criteria, Morrison conducted only passive searches (for candidates not actively looking) for board-level qualifications. Morrison reached out personally to its extensive network of relationships in California Ag as well as utilized LinkedIn and other resources to search for qualified individuals. Through Morrison’s screening and interview process, they provided several highly qualified individuals to the Board to consider. Once the Board had narrowed the field, Morrison assisted in arranging for the Board to conduct in-person interviews with the final candidates.

Successes

Whitney Warren Ranch selected a new director from those final interviews, Dan Cummings. Mr. Cummings is a third generation Sacramento Valley farmer and a Harvard M.B.A. who also serves as the chairman of Blue Diamond Growers, the world’s largest marketer of almonds. Because of the breadth and quality of its relationships throughout California agriculture, Morrison was able to act as a trusted advisor to the board and find candidates who met very specific criteria. Ultimately, this placement helped the board to even further strengthen their leadership in California agriculture and the legacy of Whitney Warren Ranch in the Sacramento Valley.

Morrison has been an invaluable source of both business and accounting acumen and advice to the owners and management at Whitney Warren Ranch. The Board candidates they provided were all extremely well qualified and their vetting process and resulting summaries were very complete. All in all, we enjoy a very comfortable relationship with Morrison and continue to call upon them for advisory services. Bob Baker | President WWR

About the Client

Founded in the early 20th century, Whitney Warren Ranch is a family-owned farming operation with prominent name recognition and historical significance in the northern Sacramento Valley. While one of several operations owned by the family, the Ranch is viewed as an important part of the family’s legacy and as such the owners are dedicated to maintaining this significant orchard property with excellence. The Ranch consists of several hundred acres of walnuts and pears.

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