TILLAMOOK, ORE. – Tillamook County Creamery Association president and chief executive officer Patrick Criteser announced he plans to step down later this year. The farmer-owned cooperative’s board of directors chose David Booth, currently the executive vice president of brand growth and commercialization at Tillamook, as the next CEO and president.

Tillamook shared that Criteser would keep his CEO title until he leaves later this year, and Booth immediately assumed the role of president. The Oregon-based cooperative said the transition aligned with its long-standing succession plan and Criteser endorsed Booth as the cooperative’s next leader.

Criteser first began overseeing Tillamook in 2012.

"Our vision of becoming a premium, multi-category, national dairy brand has been realized, and the cooperative is optimally positioned to thrive well into the future," Criteser said. "I have accomplished what I hoped to achieve for the farmer-owners of this amazing cooperative, so I've decided that the time is right for this transition. Serving in this role has been the greatest honor of my professional career, and I am absolutely certain that our board has chosen the right person to succeed me in David."

Shannon Lourenzo, chair of Tillamook’s board, said Criteser provided “incredible leadership” during his 12 years in charge.

“Today, we are a $1.3 billion business, and one in four American households buy Tillamook cheese, ice cream and other dairy products,” Lourenzo said. “But we're just getting started. David is a very talented leader and is someone who is well-equipped to continue the cooperative's growth, which will further strengthen our farmer-owners, create more jobs and advancement opportunities for our employees, and enable us to continue to positively impact the communities where we live and work."   

The Tillamook board and executive leadership team plan to work closely with Criteser and Booth during the transition “to ensure business continuity and success,” and Booth will be both president and CEO once Criteser departs.

Said Booth: "This is an incredible opportunity to work with our farmer-owners who have built this company with a long-term outlook and a commitment to growing the right way. We have extremely talented and committed employees in every function and location. Our strong culture and organizational momentum are here to stay, and they will enable us to reach even greater heights in the future."

The cooperative credited Booth with building “top-performing sales, marketing and category growth teams” since joining Tillamook in 2015, as well as building relationships with retailers and crafting growth strategies. During his tenure, Booth twice stepped in as interim chief financial officer. His professional career spans nearly three decades, including 18 years working for ConAgra Foods.