Upstate Niagara Cooperative, Buffalo, N.Y., announced that Kevin Ellis was selected as the cooperative’s next CEO. He will replace current CEO Larry Webster, who will be retiring.

Ellis is currently the CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients, an Auburn, N.Y.-based producer of specialized dairy ingredients, and Cayuga Marketing, a 9C cooperative of members who own and manage successful dairy farm businesses in central New York. He will assume the position of Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s CEO no later than Sept. 6, 2022.

“Kevin is a visionary leader who will be communicative and approachable at all levels of the organization,” said John T. Gould, president and chairman of the cooperative’s board. “It is also our belief that working with Upstate Niagara Cooperative’s dedicated executive team and staff, he will not only help to continue Upstate Niagara’s legacy, but build upon and enhance it.”

Webster, who joined Upstate Niagara Cooperative in 2005 and has served as CEO for the past decade, announced his retirement in January. The board began the process of finding and naming his replacement immediately thereafter, the cooperative said.

“We wanted to ensure a seamless transition,” said Gould. “And Larry has generously agreed to continue leading the cooperative until that transfer has been successfully completed. It’s important our farmers and customers are assured nothing will change in the interim, and know Larry is leaving Upstate Niagara in an excellent position.”

Webster’s tenure at Upstate Niagara Cooperative was marked by the company’s experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and expansion, recently becoming a billion-dollar business.

“I’m extremely proud of the success we’ve seen over the past decade,” said Webster, “but I’m looking forward to relaxing and spending time with my family.”

Ellis has extensive experience in C-Level management, with concentrations in finance and marketing, Upstate Niagara Cooperative said. He has been CEO of Cayuga Milk Ingredients and Cayuga Marketing for 14 years, and has also held positions as a dairy nutritionist, loan officer and financial consultant. He holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cornell University, and an MBA from the University of Rochester’s Simon Business School.

“Upstate Niagara’s tagline — ‘Milk is Our Life’s Work —’ immediately resonated with me,” said Ellis. “I grew up on a dairy farm, which is still in operation. I’ve dedicated my professional life to helping the dairy farming industry produce nutritious milk products. I look forward to building upon Upstate Niagara’s core values and leading the cooperative into even more exciting and fruitful enterprises.”