SEATTLE – Farmer-owned dairy cooperative Darigold, Inc. announced the departure of chief executive officer Joe Coote, as well as the appointment of board chairman Allan Huttema as interim CEO, effective immediately.

The Northwest-based cooperative said Coote, who was chosen as CEO in January 2022, plans to return to his native Australia. Coote initially joined the company three years ago, and served as president of the international ingredients division prior to his promotion.

Coote called his past two years as CEO at Darigold a great privilege.

“I have enormous respect and admiration for our farmer-owners and the teams across our business that work so hard to keep our customers stocked with great, high-quality dairy products,” Coote said. “Having been away from my home country for many years now, my family and I are ready to return to Australia to begin new adventures back home.”

A farmer-owner who has served on Darigold’s board of directors for nine years, Huttema said Coote’s time as CEO included the early stages of the business’s modernization plan.

“Under his leadership, we took significant steps forward on that effort, beginning construction of our new facility in Pasco (Wash.), launching a migration of our business management systems, and beginning to develop a culture rooted in excellence in operations,” Huttema said. “We are grateful for Joe’s time with Darigold and appreciate all of his contributions. On behalf of our full board, I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

As Huttema steps into the role of interim CEO, he said he benefits from “having an extremely capable leadership team in place, including a number of Darigold veterans,” adding that the people involved have proven track records in the dairy and consumer packaged goods sectors.

The cooperative’s chairman of the board for the past three years, Huttema also actively works as a dairyman in Idaho.

“Our business is structured to run around two divisions – business to business and business to consumer – each with experienced, proven leaders running them,” Huttema said. “I have full confidence that the team and the structure we have in place will help ensure that we continue serving our customers in the way they have come to expect from us.”

With Darigold in the midst of what it describes as a “multi-year transformational journey” to globalize its 100-year-old brand, the dairy business noted other recent additions to its leadership team include president of the business-to-consumer division, Dan Hofmeister; president of the business-to-business division, Chris Rowe; and senior vice president of sales, Dan Bukowski.

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