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Leprino Foods Announces Future Leadership Transition

DENVER, Colo. (Nov. 3, 2023) – Mike Durkin, President of Leprino Foods Company, announced he will retire in November 2024. Durkin’s tenure been punctuated by major accomplishments that have transformed both Leprino Foods and the dairy industry as a whole.

Initially joining as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2011, Durkin advanced to President in 2014. Under his leadership, Leprino Foods has achieved notable milestones including the expansion of the company’s domestic and global manufacturing footprint, restructuring the business into Global Business Units and launching the company’s first consumer brand, Ascent Protein. Durkin has positioned Leprino Foods as an environmental leader in the dairy industry with aggressive sustainability goals through the company’s Global Responsibility initiative. Durkin also championed diversity and inclusion, fostering a more inclusive workplace and driving employee engagement.

Mike Durkin, Leprino Foods’ President.
Mike Durkin—Leprino Foods’ President.

A widely respected leader in the dairy industry, Durkin has held leadership roles to advance and advocate for dairy. Long active in the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, Durkin was recently elected chair of its board of directors. Previously, he served as secretary of the Innovation Center board and chaired its Stewardship Commitment Taskforce — where he was instrumental in advancing the U.S. dairy community’s positive impact on building a healthy and sustainable future. He currently serves as the vice chair of the International Dairy Foods Association’s (IDFA) Executive Council and formerly served on their Cheese and Ingredients Boards. In addition, Durkin is a member of the Global Dairy Platform’s Global Dairy Board.

“We extend our deepest gratitude to Mike Durkin for his remarkable leadership and invaluable contributions. His unwavering dedication and vision have been instrumental in significantly advancing our success over the past decade, leaving an enduring legacy at Leprino Foods and within the dairy industry,” Dan Vecchiarelli, Leprino Foods Chairman and CEO, said.

The company, preparing for a seamless transition, also announced that Lance FitzSimmons will succeed Durkin as President. FitzSimmons will be the company’s fourth president in its nearly 75-year history when he assumes the role on Nov. 1, 2024. Known for exceptional leadership, FitzSimmons’ impressive background and expertise will build upon the strengths that have made Leprino Foods successful.

Lance FitzSimmons, Leprino Foods’ Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer.
Lance FitzSimmons—Leprino Foods’ Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer.

FitzSimmons, Leprino Foods’ Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer, has been with the company since 2009. While the majority of his background have been in finance and accounting, he has taken on roles with increased leadership responsibility and expanded oversight. In fact, he has managed nearly every division throughout the company. Prior to Leprino Foods, FitzSimmons spent eight years in Finance for Proctor & Gamble. He is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio.

“We are excited to welcome Lance as our new President in November 2024. His proven track record and dynamic expertise position him to lead us into our next phase of innovation and growth,” Vecchiarelli said.

Durkin and FitzSimmons will dedicate the next year to ensuring a smooth transfer of knowledge.

About Leprino Foods Company
Leprino Foods Company, headquartered in Denver, Colorado, is a world leader in the production of premium-quality dairy food and ingredients. One of the largest producers of mozzarella cheese in the world, Leprino Foods is also a leading supplier of lactose, whey protein, micellar casein and sweet whey. Leprino Foods employs approximately 5,500+ people worldwide and has global sales in over 55+ countries. The company’s expanding international presence provides access to key markets across the globe. This includes Leprino Foods UK and Leprino Foods EU Limited with plants in Llangefni, Wales; Magheralin, Northern Ireland; and Portlaoise in the Republic of Ireland. In South America, the company operates a manufacturing facility in Tapejara, Brazil. The company also has a sales and culinary innovation hub in Singapore, and representative offices in Shanghai and Tokyo. For more information, please visit

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