Van Houtte Announces New Leadership Structure With Appointment Of Gerard Geoffrion As CEO

Sylvain Toutant Appointed President, Retail to Expand Growth Outside Quebec; Jean-Yves Monette Becomes Chairman

July 21, 2008 // Franchising.com // Montreal – Van Houtte, one of North America's leading gourmet coffee roasters, marketers and distributors, today announced a new leadership structure with the appointment of Gerard Geoffrion, a 13 year veteran of the company, as CEO. Mr. Geoffrion succeeds Jean-Yves Monette, who becomes Chairman after serving as CEO since 2003.

The company also announced that Sylvain Toutant, 45, is joining Van Houtte as President, Retail whose mission will be to accelerate the deployment of the Van Houtte brand in North America, chiefly outside Quebec.

Michael I. Klein, a director of Van Houtte and President of Littlejohn & Co., LLC, the principal private investor in Van Houtte, said of Mr. Geoffrion's appointment, "We are very pleased with the continuity of this management change given Gerard's previous key role within the company for more than a decade. Gérard has excellent leadership capabilities and he has a complete command of Van Houtte's North American strategic growth and development strategy, which he played a central role in creating, and we are confident that he will be able to carry it out successfully.

As a member of Van Houtte's senior leadership, Gérard led Van Houtte's expansion in the coffee service business, notably through the acquisition and integration of more than 200 businesses, and is largely responsible for Van Houtte's leading position in the North American coffee service industry."

Gérard, 55, most recently served as Executive Vice-President of Van Houtte and began his career at the company in 1995. A trained engineer with an MBA, he developed a solid track record in industrial processes, strategic planning and mergers and acquisitions. He joined Van Houtte as Vice-President, Corporate Development and was appointed Executive Vice-President shortly after.

In his new role, Sylvain will oversee the sales to Grocery Retail, the Roasting operations as well as the Bistros operations. Sylvain comes to Van Houtte with a long and successful track record in the retail sector, as President of the Réno-Dépôt chain and the Société des Alcools du Québec.

"Sylvain's retail experience and know-how complete the skill set of the Van Houtte team," said the Company's new President and CEO, Gérard Geoffrion. "Having him as part of our team will add momentum and reach to our brand in North America."

Jean-Yves, 63, becomes Chairman of the board of Van Houtte and is stepping down from day-to-day responsibilities, after a career of nearly 40 years in the food industry, 20 of them as a manager in the coffee sector.

After joining Van Houtte as President of the Coffee group in 1994, he was appointed President and CEO of the Company in July 2003. "In 14 years at Van Houtte, Jean-Yves has made an immense contribution to the Company's growth and performance," said Mr. Klein.

"Under his leadership, Van Houtte's coffee production volume has grown from 4 million to over 26 million pounds per year. The outstanding brand image Van Houtte enjoys today is also largely his doing. And in his new position, we're delighted to say, Jean-Yves will still be able to give us the benefit of his tremendous experience and knowledge of the coffee industry."

About Van Houtte

Founded in 1919, Van Houtte is one of North America's leaders in the roasting, processing, marketing and distribution of high-quality coffees.

The Company roasts and processes fine coffees, which it markets in Canada and the United States through distribution chains that include a coffee services network, retail stores, a network of café franchises and services to online shoppers.

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