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WMMB's Robson Claims He Was Asked to Leave
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 04/29/2016

The outgoing CEO of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board says it was not his decision to step down from the state's dairy check-off program last week. In an exclusive interview with Madison farm radio broadcaster Pam Jahnke, James Robson said he was 'not really sure' why the executive board asked him to resign from his position during the April 21 board meeting in Madison.

"After 15 years of continuing success and building an image and reputation in the state, I was essentially told that the board wants to have a different strategic direction, whatever that means, and that they want a different individual to lead the team at WMMB," Robson told the Wisconsin Farm Report. "That's pretty much all I know."

Robson further told Jahnke that he's still 'baffled' about his dismissal and that he was told by legal counsel and executive board members that they wanted new leadership.

"Robson was so surprised by the meeting, that he actually had to walk up to board chair Connie Seefeldt later and asked 'so am I done today?' and the answer was yes," Jahnke stated on her website.

In a press release issued the same day, WMMB stated that Robson announced his resignation, effective immediately. Board Attorney Brad Hoeschen of Thomadsen & Hoeschen then told Wisconsin Ag Connection hours later that Robson did not express any specific reason for his decision to step down.

"The directors of the Milk Marketing Board were not aware that Mr. Robson was planning to resign prior to Thursday's meeting," said Hoeschen. He also told Wisconsin Ag Connection that Robson 'was not asked to leave and that it was his own personal decision' to resign. And he claimed that WMMB's new succession plan, which was developed in January, was not in response to any prior knowledge that Robson was planning to end his employment with WMMB.

Robson will remain on WMMB's payroll until June, but says he's not allowed back in the building. Chief Financial Officer Jessica Rogers-Heintz, a 25-year employee of WMMB, will serve as interim CEO until a permanent chief executive officer is named.

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