POET Leader Retakes CEO Reins

Sioux Falls, SD — The company that runs the Ashton ethanol plant has a new CEO — but it’s someone that’s quite familiar with the job.
Jeff Broin
Jeff Broin, founder of POET, has resumed his role as the company’s CEO after stepping into the Executive Chairman role for the last three and one-half years.

Broin says that a few years ago, he wanted to slow down a bit, be less involved in the affairs of POET and have time to do other things and spend more time with his family. He says that in the last few years he has been able to work on broader industry and ag issues, get their new foundation – Seeds of Change – up and running and support several third-world causes.

However, Broin says he also found himself continuing to work regularly on company issues. Broin says his passion and love for the company, the industry, agriculture and the people he works with is “just too great.” He says he thinks he can be of most value moving forward by serving as CEO.

Jeff Lautt has been CEO and will continue to manage the day-to-day operations of POET as President and Chief Operating Officer. Broin stressed the success of POET under Lautt’s leadership.

The 28-year-old company has a production capacity in excess of 1.7 billion gallons of ethanol and 9 billion pounds of high-protein animal feed annually from its network of 27 production facilities, including POET Biorefining of Ashton. POET, through its joint venture with DSM, also operates a commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant in Emmetsburg, Iowa.

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Broin says, “Jeff [Lautt] has done an outstanding job as CEO of POET. He’s been an effective and gracious leader for our team members and investors. In fact, 2014 was a record year at POET, and our cellulosic venture – Project LIBERTY – is advancing toward full operations. I could not have asked for a better person to take on this role, and POET will continue to benefit from his direction as President.”

“No one is more passionate about this company and industry than Jeff Broin. This business is in his blood,” Lautt said. “He built a world leader, and it’s no surprise that he would want to continue that work. I’m honored to have been entrusted as CEO of POET over the last few years, and I look forward to continuing my leadership as President and COO.”

After early small-scale ethanol production on the Broin family farm, POET got its start in 1987 with the purchase of a 1 million gallon-per-year ethanol plant in Scotland, S.D. From there, the company has grown to be one of the largest ethanol producers in the world, with 1.7 billion gallons of production today from 28 plants in seven states.

With a focus on research and market development, POET has pioneered new efficiencies in biofuels production as well as development and improvement of co-products to make ethanol the most competitive, renewable, domestic fuel in the market today. POET, along with the Dutch life sciences company DSM, is working to license cellulosic ethanol technology to further grow the world’s supply of sustainable transportation fuel.

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