Benson Hill CEO Matt Crisp leaves

  • After 11 years in the position
  • Praise and thanks for Crisp
  • Deanie Elsner taking over temporarily
  • Search for a successor
  • Crisp spoke at length and said 163 words

(exechange) — St. Louis, Missouri, June 16, 2023 — Matt Crisp, chief executive of Benson Hill, leaves his position. As announced by Benson Hill Inc. in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Friday, June 16, 2023, Matthew B. (Matt) Crisp has left his post as chief executive officer at the food tech company, after 11 years in the role, effective June 15, 2023.

Benson Hill will undertake a search for a successor.

Matt Crisp’s duties as CEO will be taken over temporarily by Adrienne (Deanie) Elsner, most recently Chief Executive Officer at Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc., as Interim Chief Executive Officer.

Deanie Elsner is about 20 years older than Matt Crisp.

Already a director

Elsner has already been a member of the board of directors of Benson Hill. Generally speaking, most director-turned-CEO appointments occur following a sudden resignation of the outgoing CEO and signal a lack of preparedness on the company’s part to groom internal talent. Directors-turned-executives represent a blend of outsider and insider.

They don’t have the constraints of a pure insider when it comes to leading painful changes or making unpopular decisions, and they have more company knowledge than a pure outsider.

Having been a director, Elsner understands the expectations and dynamics of the board and has knowledge of Benson Hill’s organization, risk-management practices and strategy.

“Now is the right time”

The management change is explained as follows. Crisp stated: “[A]s we focus on the execution required to navigate this operating landscape, the Board and I have agreed that now is the right time to begin transitioning Benson Hill’s leadership.”

Precise information regarding Matt Crisp’s future plans was not immediately available.


Benson Hill said: “Ms. Elsner succeeds Matt Crisp, who has agreed to resign as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately.”

Benson Hill further said: “On June 15, 2023, Matthew Crisp agreed to resign as the Chief Executive Officer and as a director of Benson Hill, Inc. (the “Company”), effective immediately.”

“Not due to any disagreement”

Benson Hill stated, regarding the change: “Mr. Crisp’s resignation was not due to any disagreement with the Company.”

Share price decline since June 2022

The announcement follows a decline in Benson Hill Inc.’s share price of 66% since June 2022.

In the position of CEO since 2012

Matt Crisp became CEO of the Company in 2012.

Crisp will serve as consultant to the Board for 12 months to ensure a smooth transition.

Matthew B. Crisp has served on the Company’s Board of Directors since June 2012.

Crisp has a background as an entrepreneur and as a venture capitalist working with and within biotechnology and other technology-driven companies.

Prior to co-founding Benson Hill in 2012, he was the founding President of the Agricultural Biotechnology Division and Senior Vice President at Intrexon Corporation, a synthetic biology company.

In addition to launching the company’s agbiotech efforts, Crisp worked with Intrexon for more than five years, serving in multiple executive roles and on its Board of Directors.

Prior to joining Intrexon, Crisp was a Managing Director at Third Security, LLC, a venture capital firm, where he focused on corporate development, worked closely with private and public companies in the life science and technology sectors, and led the firm’s West Coast operations.

Crisp also co-founded Edison Agrosciences, Inc., an agricultural biotechnology company primarily focused on the development of alternative rubber crops.

He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Radford University, where he formerly served on its Board of Visitors, and as Chairman of the Radford University Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors.

163 words by Matt Crisp

In the news release announcing his departure as CEO of Benson Hill Inc., Matt Crisp received praise and thanks.

In announcing his departure, Matt Crisp spoke at length and said 163 words.

“Focus on the execution required to navigate this operating landscape”

Matt Crisp stated: “I co-founded Benson Hill with the goal of bringing necessary innovation and disruption that has been sorely lacking across the agri-food value chain. From attracting the best team in our industry, to developing best-in-class platforms like CropOS and Crop Accelerator, to acquiring key facilities and vertically integrating to achieve our go-to-market strategy, we have established a foundation for growth that is poised to reshape the future of food production. That said, as we focus on the execution required to navigate this operating landscape, the Board and I have agreed that now is the right time to begin transitioning Benson Hill’s leadership. I know I am leaving the Company in capable hands, and I intend to work closely with Deanie to ensure a smooth transition for our stakeholders. It has been an honor to work alongside the creative and dedicated Benson Hill team, and I thank them for their commitment to Being Bold and supporting me and the Company for the past eleven years.”

40% of CEOs are forced out or fired

When CEO departures are announced, exechange determines the Push-out Score on a scale of 0 to 10 to assess how likely it is that the chief executive was pushed out or felt pressure to leave the position, with 0 being most likely a voluntary move and 10 being most likely a forced exit. Anything over a 5 indicates that there are valid reasons to believe an executive may have been pushed out.

Of the 313 CEO departures in the Russell 3000 Index evaluated over the past 12 months (June 16, 2022, to June 15, 2023), the average Push-out Score was 6.1, according to exechange data. References to conduct issues, disagreements and irregularities lead to the highest Push-out Scores. When performance issues, time with family or pursuit of other opportunities were cited as departure reasons, the average Push-out Scores were also significantly elevated.

Around 40% of the CEO departure events from the past 12 months received Push-out Scores of 8 or higher.

In other words, in the past 12 months, two in five departing CEOs were forced out or fired.

Push-out Score for Matt Crisp’s move determined

The Push-out Score regarding Matt Crisp’s move is explained point by point in the exechange report.

exechange reached out to Benson Hill and offered the company the opportunity to comment on the score.

Read the full story in the exechange report 25.2023 ($).