The Foremost Farms USA® board of directors has selected Michael Doyle as president and chief executive officer of the cooperative. Doyle will succeed David Fuhrmann, who will retire at the end of 2014.
Doyle is currently the cooperative's CFO/vice president-finance. He joined Foremost Farms on March 19, 2007. Doyle is responsible for the cooperative's accounting/tax, finance, strategic analysis/investments and information technology functions.
"As Foremost Farms approaches its 20th anniversary, Dave Fuhrmann's leadership (and that of his predecessor) created a very solid dairy business that meets the changing needs of our member-owners," said Doyle. "Going forward, it is my responsibility to provide leadership to conquer challenges that come with increasingly volatile dairy markets and global competition, while embracing our cooperative principles and growing the business for the hard-working dairy farmers who own Foremost Farms."
David Scheevel, chairman of the board, was part of the team that selected Doyle. "We had several excellent internal and outside candidates for this position making for a difficult decision. Mike has a progressive vision for the cooperative and will continue the work that Dave has started and fostered. I have the utmost respect for both men and have confidence the future is in talented hands."
Fuhrmann adds, "While the time was right for me to retire, I do so knowing that we are looking at a bright future and the next leader of Foremost Farms will work tirelessly on behalf of the dairy farmer-members of this cooperative. It has been my sincere pleasure to work my entire career for dairy farmers. I would also like to say that I completely support Mike and wish him the very best in this new role."
Doyle will officially become president and CEO on Oct. 1. Fuhrmann will remain for a transition period through the end of the year.
David Fuhrmann became the second president of Foremost Farms USA on Sept. 1, 2001. He is a 40-year veteran of the dairy industry.
Prior to serving as the cooperative's president, Fuhrmann was vice president of Foremost Farms' cheese division where he was responsible for overseeing the cooperative's plants that manufacture a variety of American- and Italian-style cheeses for wholesale and foodservice markets.
Fuhrmann's career with the cooperative began in 1981 when he joined Wisconsin Dairies Cooperative — one of the cooperatives that consolidated to become Foremost Farms USA — to manage the barrel cheddar cheese production facility at Richland Center.
In 1986, Fuhrmann was put in charge of the cooperative's engineering department at its Baraboo headquarters. In addition to those responsibilities, Fuhrmann became specialty products division manager in 1989, working with the cooperative's ingredients production facilities.
Fuhrmann was promoted to vice president-manufacturing in 1993 and was named vice president-cheese division in 1998. He has served on the boards of the National Milk Producers Federation, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Cheese Institute.
Fuhrmann has also served as chairman of the NMPF's Federal Order Task Force, created in 2007 to address milk pricing issues. He was co-chair of the Dairy 2020 Council, a state of Wisconsin initiative that works to help Wisconsin's $26 billion dairy industry better position itself for long-term viability.
In 2012, Fuhrmann received the International Dairy Foods Association "Soaring Eagle" award.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in biology, Fuhrmann was raised on a dairy farm in rural St. Cloud. Dave and wife, Sandy, have four sons. They live near LaValle.
Before joining Foremost Farms, Doyle was the senior vice president and chief financial officer of Creekstone Farms Premium Beef, LLC, responsible for finance, information technology and the operational functions of the company.
Prior to that, Doyle spent over 11 years with Land O'Lakes, Arden Hills, Minn. He joined Land O'Lakes as the controller of the agricultural center division and was promoted through the ranks of the company's agriculture and animal nutrition division where he was promoted to vice president-operations.
Doyle has a bachelor of science degree in business with an emphasis in accounting from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
Mike and his wife, Marie, live in Wisconsin Dells. They have two children, two grandchildren and another grandchild on the way.
Foremost Farms USA (www.foremostfarms.com), headquartered in Baraboo, Wis., is a farmer-owned milk processing and marketing cooperative with annual sales of $1.8 billion. The nation's seventh-largest cooperative and number 25 in annual sales among the Top 100 U.S. dairy processors, Foremost Farms is a leading manufacturer and marketer of cheese, specialty whey ingredients, butter and bulk fluid milk to customers around the world.
Note: Photos of Michael Doyle and David Fuhrmann have been attached.