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Miyoko's at Expo West 2023
Miyoko's at Expo West 2023. Image credit: Elaine Watson

More layoffs at Miyoko’s Creamery, no update on CEO search

July 27, 2023

Twelve staff were let go with severance agreements at plant-based dairy co Miyoko’s Creamery this week, AgFunderNews has learned. The move follows a round of layoffs of a similar scope in February.

According to one source who asked not to be named, the latest round of cuts spans a variety of roles across marketing, social media, R&D, sales, warehousing and accounting.

The company and individual board members have not responded to calls or emails or confirmed who has been running the business since interim president Jon Blair stepped down at the end of June. Meanwhile, a “stern email was sent out not to talk to media to all current employees,” according to our source. “It looks like they are getting ready to sell.”

Viable candidates for a CEO were “not mentioned” in the call announcing Blair’s departure in mid-June, added the source. “We’d heard that they were talking to someone at the beginning of the year but that the person they were pursuing declined after the February 16 announcement and the lawsuits that followed. Honestly, with all the accusations flying back and forth, who would want to walk into that?”

‘A highly qualified, passionate, and mission-driven leader’

Blair, who joined Miyoko’s as CFO in March 2022, was propelled into an acting CEO role last summer after the board voted to remove its founder Miyoko Schinner as CEO following disagreements over strategy.

Months of protracted negotiations regarding Schinner’s ongoing role in the company followed before talks broke down and the board issued a press release on February 16, 2023 revealing its “unanimous” decision to replace her and seek a CEO with “proven P&L experience who has scaled a larger business.” According to the release, executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles had been tasked with finding a “highly qualified, passionate, and mission-driven leader.”

The same day, the company filed a lawsuit accusing Schinner of “hatching a plot” to steal its intellectual property, prompting Schinner to respond with a countersuit alleging she was forced out of her own company after complaining to HR about certain male executives who “openly denigrated women.”

After three months of airing their dirty laundry in public through court filings, the parties withdrew their respective legal claims in mid-May and issued a joint statement wishing each other well.

Further reading:

Exclusive: Miyoko’s interim president to step down, no replacement announced yet

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