Bram Kleppner, CEO, Danforth Pewter

Bram Kleppner, CEO, Danforth Pewter
ROI Podcast Episode 50

In CEO Podcast Series by Brandt A. Handley

Bram Kleppner has been CEO of Danforth Pewter since 2011 and has successfully turned around what was a loss-making business and led the company to seven straight years of growth and profitability. Under his direction, Danforth has expanded its network of company-owned retail stores and has enjoyed dramatic growth in its online businesses. Bram has successfully acquired and integrated three other companies into Danforth. He has instituted company-wide profit-sharing and partially paid maternity leave. In 2015 he converted the company’s electricity use to 100% solar power and has recently committed to moving the company to zero fossil fuel use. This year, Bram led the Board of Directors in adding an employee seat to the Board, now filled by an employee elected to that position by all the permanent employees of the company. He has reduced and refinanced the company’s debt, engineered a partial liquidity event for the company’s founders, and put the company on a path to provide the current shareholders full liquidity in the next four or five years.

Prior to Danforth, Bram spent 10 years leading international marketing at Ben & Jerry’s, contributing to growth in Ben & Jerry’s international business from less than $5 million/year to over $40 million/year. He co-led Ben & Jerry’s first campaign against global warming and led the creation of Ben & Jerry’s first non-GMO ice cream. At different times, he served as General Manager of Ben & Jerry’s Russian joint venture and as Marketing Manager for Ben & Jerry’s France and also worked in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. His tenure at Ben & Jerry’s included three years as part of Unilever’s global ice cream group.

In addition to his day job, Bram serves as Chairman of the Board of Population Media Center, working to promote the rights of women and girls in the developing world and to preserve the environment by stabilizing global population at a level that’s sustainable by the planet’s renewable resources. As Chair, Bram has led PMC through a process of strategic transformation at all levels of the organization as it has grown and expanded the scope of its activities and influence around the world. PMC’s programs have been seen by over 500 million people. Bram recently finished five years of service as Co-chair of Vermont’s Medicaid & Exchange Advisory Board, providing guidance on various aspects of healthcare policy to several state agencies, the Governor, and the legislature, and is a former member of the Governor’s Business Advisory Council on Health Care Financing. Bram also serves on the Health Care Working Group at Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility.

Bram earned an MBA from the University of Vermont, where he served as President of the MBA Association; a BA from Middlebury College, from which he graduated with high honors; and a Certificate of Achievement in Lean Manufacturing from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.