U.S.-based Fall Creek Farm & Nursery has announced succession of its top leadership, with co-founder and industry innovator Dave Brazelton to step aside as CEO to assume a new role as executive chairman of the board of directors.
Effective Jan.1, Amelie Brazelton Aust and Cort Brazelton will assume the roles of co-CEOs.
In addition, Oscar Verges, who joined Fall Creek as COO in 2016, recently was promoted to president and COO of the blueberry breeding and nursery company.
The three executives will lead the company’s strategy and growth, and the team of functional and regional directors will continue to report to Verges, the company said in a release.
“We have experienced tremendous growth at Fall Creek during the past years. Our ‘go where our customers grow’ strategy has led us to new geographies and has required us to continually reinvent the way we do things,” says Dave Brazelton.
“This transition of leadership is really about commitment to our customers. It gives us a top-level leadership platform to launch the company’s next chapter of growth and to serve the industry in the transformative way our mission calls on us to achieve.”
This unique leadership model was recommended by Fall Creek’s board of directors after assessing the company’s growth plan, internal talents and team-based corporate culture, the company said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing each member of the new leadership team work together while they also develop their individual areas of focus: Cort, on global business development and key relationships; Amelie, on strategy and company culture; and Oscar, on the management of a growing global entity,” says Roland Wolfram, the newest member of the Fall Creek board.
Amelie Brazelton Aust said: “When the board of directors recommended this leadership structure, Cort and I were both surprised.”
“A co-CEO model had never occurred to us, but it should have. As we have spent most of 2018 diving into what this will look like, studying the pitfalls, and gaining vision into how this has worked well for other global companies, we are excited. Cort and I are as different and as similar as can be.
“We challenge each other and hold each other accountable to focus opportunities, manage risk, and protect our company values. At the same time, Oscar brings decades of global corporate experience that is essential for us to enrich strategy and to bring what’s most special about Fall Creek to the entire organization and the people we serve, everywhere in the world.”
Cort Brazelton said: “Our industry is on the verge of enormous change. We’ll have to continually renew our strategy and preserve what is most valuable in our culture to serve our customers.”
“The three of us will share that responsibility. Our father didn’t do it alone. He fostered a team atmosphere with shared decision-making, recognizing where others could fill knowledge and technical gaps. The three of us serve the organization – especially the team of directors that is empowered to run and grow the company – and our job is to clear the way forward.”
Oscar Verges said: “Only eight years ago, Fall Creek was a nursery in the U.S. Pacific Northwest with some exports, licensing and business relationships abroad.
“Now, true to our commitment to serve our customers and the industry, Fall Creek has bricks-and-mortar throughout the Americas and Europe.
“As the company grows, maintaining our company culture and values becomes ever more important. Collaborative decision making, serving each other and our customers, and shared leadership are principles Amelie, Cort and I vow to maintain and plan to model throughout the organization.”