Jennifer “Vern” Long named as new CEO of World Coffee Research

The board of directors of World Coffee Research (WCR) has named Jennifer “Vern” Long as the new CEO of the organization.

Michael Keown, chair of the WCR board of directors, said: “Vern is joining WCR at a time of strong momentum. What was once a fledgling organization has surpassed everyone’s expectations and created a capacity we now recognize the coffee industry can’t do without.  We are thrilled to welcome her and look forward to all that’s to come.”

Dr. Tim Schilling, the founder and outgoing chief executive officer of WCR, will work side-by-side with Long through the end of the year, then step into a new role as president of WCR’s European subsidiary branch and a member of the board of directors. Long will take the helm of WCR on June 1 2019.

“With Vern, WCR is in exceptionally capable hands,” said Dr. Schilling. “She is deeply knowledgeable and passionate about international agricultural research, is a natural leader and entrepreneurial thinker, and is an experienced organization builder. She’s the perfect fit. The coffee world doesn’t know her yet, but it will.”

Long will lead the organization to achieve its mission to grow, protect, and enhance supplies of quality coffee while improving the livelihoods of the families who produce it. WCR aims to achieve stable funding of $10 million by 2022.

“I am humbled and excited to join an organization as dynamic, focused, and innovative as World Coffee Research. Coffee production faces numerous challenges in the coming years, which agricultural research and development are uniquely positioned to address. I am eager to build on Tim’s success in establishing WCR as one of the leading coffee organizations in the world,” said Long. “I look forward to engaging across the coffee community to grow WCR, so together we can position coffee production to be sustainable in the long term, particularly for the farmers who make the business of coffee possible.”

“Our industry likes to talk about sustainability a lot. But in World Coffee Research, we have brought into being a global organization that is charging ahead to address some of the fundamental problems stopping us from achieving it, especially low profitability for farmers,” said Mario Cerutti, president, ECF/chief institutional relations and sustainability officer, Lavazza. “Farmer-focused agricultural innovation is fundamental. We cannot be a sustainable industry in the long term without it. It is why so many international companies, like Lavazza, have joined this precompetitive effort. We are so excited to watch this organization grow to realize its full potential under Vern’s leadership.”

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