Jim brings a lifetime of experience to the role, having joined the firm full time in 1968. Over the years, he has worked in a variety of positions, becoming the company’s president in 2006. During his tenure as COO, Jim was instrumental in the manufacturing/operations of the business as well as growth in the services division. Jim has a background in graphic arts and printing. He graduated from Neenah High School and Madison Technical College and is a certified Master Printer. He is also vice president/treasurer of the J J. Keller Foundation Inc.
“Jim is a passionate and no-nonsense leader,” says Marne Keller-Krikava, vice president-strategy and business planning. “He is an absolute advocate for the customer and the J.J. Keller brand. He spends each and every day reinforcing these ideals as well as the organization’s ‘Associate Principle’ of shared responsibility, shared results. Having an experienced captain like Jim at the helm offers us the ideal opportunity for a seamless transition.”
The company says this announcement is a strategic step in a broader well-orchestrated multi-phase succession plan that positions and prepares the organization for the next generation of leadership and growth.
“Jim’s role as president/CEO in the near-term is a key part of our succession plan,” says Robert Keller. “We have taken a thoughtful and long-term approach to our planning with the intention of keeping the business private and in the family. We believe this allows us to remain true to our core principles of excellent customer care, the associate principle and to continue as a vibrant part of the local community.”
Robert L. Keller will continue as chairman, presiding over the board of directors. In addition to leading the board, he will be involved in preparing the next generation of leaders throughout the execution of the succession plan. He also will remain as president/chairman of the J.J. Keller Foundation. Bob started with the firm as a young boy of 12 and has served in nearly all roles throughout the firm including the top leadership role for over a quarter century. During his tenure he led the firm in growth from about $10 million to $200 million over those years. The company currently employs about 1,100 associates.
J.J. Keller is a third-generation family business, founded by John J. Keller in 1953. Robert and James are both second generation who have worked in nearly every aspect of the company during their long tenure.