In South Dakota, POET founder Jeff Broin has resumed his role as the company’s CEO after stepping into the Executive Chairman role for the last three and one-half years. Jeff Lautt has been CEO and will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of POET as President and COO. Broin stressed the success of POET under Lautt’s leadership.
“Jeff [Lautt] has done an outstanding job as CEO of POET,” Broin said. “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.
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.
“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.
“No one is more passionate about this company and 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 COO.”