- Robert H. Buker, Jr., the president and CEO of U.S. Sugar, the largest sugarcane producer in the United States, will retire after 18 years of leadership.
- Buker departs as the company’s longest-serving leader.
- Kenneth W. McDuffie, currently the company’s executive vice president, will succeed Buker as president and CEO, taking over the reins of the company.
U.S. Sugar, the largest producer of sugarcane in the United States, announced on Friday the retirement of Robert H. Buker, Jr., its president and CEO, effective October 27.
After 18 years of leadership, Buker will step down from his role, making him the longest-tenured leader in the company’s 92-year history. Upon his retirement, Kenneth W. McDuffie, who presently serves as the company’s executive vice president, will succeed Buker.
In his farewell statement, Buker credited the board’s values and vision, along with the dedication of the employees, as key factors in the company’s success. Buker highlighted the challenges the company faced over the years, including natural disasters and legal and political obstacles, noting that they emerged victorious with their integrity intact.
“In my time at U.S. Sugar, we weathered hurricanes, freezes, droughts, diseases, and many other obstacles created by Mother Nature,” said Buker. “We also confronted legal, political, and constitutional challenges from activists, and emerged from them not only victorious but also with our integrity intact. Time has proven that our decisions have been to the benefit of our shareholders, our employees, and our communities.”
“On behalf of the U.S. Sugar Board of Directors, I want to sincerely thank Bob for his dedication to the Company as our president and CEO over the last 18 years,” said Board of Directors Chair Ridgway White. “Under Bob’s leadership, U.S. Sugar further solidified and expanded its position as a premier agricultural company. Ken is a proven leader who will build on the foundation Bob has established to fulfill the vast potential this company and its employees hold.”
McDuffie has been with the company dating back to 1992, previously serving as Senior Vice President of Agricultural Operations. He is known for modernizing its agricultural operations, according to the company, and enhancing its harvesting capabilities through new technology. McDuffie holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Florida State University.
“U.S. Sugar is a special company rooted in history and traditional farming values, and I am humbled by the opportunity to lead a great team of agribusiness professionals,” said McDuffie. “I look forward to building on the successes accomplished under Bob’s leadership and leading the company into the future.”