CRB, a provider of sustainable engineering, architecture, construction and consulting solutions for the biopharmaceutical and food and beverage industries, announced the board of directors has named President Ryan Schroeder as chief executive officer. Schroeder succeeds CEO and CRB co-founder Jeff Biskup, who will remain on the board of directors and lead the board as executive chairman. 

Additionally, the company announced the formation of CRB operations, a group uniting the company’s regional operations and technical operations teams into a single structure and led by new Chief Operating Officer Sam Kitchell.

Schroeder joined CRB in 1987 as an architectural engineer, progressing in the company’s operations before becoming leader of CRB’s Midwest region in 2010. He was named president in 2017 and has led the company’s growth, including its first $1 billion-plus revenue years in 2021 and 2022. 

While growing the company’s bottom line, Schroeder has overseen CRB’s physical expansion. With an employee count nearing 1,800—a roughly threefold increase under Schroeder’s leadership—CRB now has 21 offices in North America and Europe, with additional openings planned in the coming years.

“There is no one better positioned to further raise CRB’s leadership position in the marketplace while simultaneously nurturing and advancing our coveted culture. From day one we’ve put remarkable client and employee experiences at the center of everything we do, and no one understands that balance more than Ryan,” says Jeff Biskup, one of the company’s original three founders who mentored Schroeder during his rise through the company ranks. “This promotion is well-earned by Ryan, and it’s terrific news for our clients and employees as our company gets stronger and continues to expand our leadership in the industries we serve.”

Says Schroeder, “Following in Jeff’s footsteps as CEO carries extra meaning for me. He’s been an incredible mentor from the day I arrived at CRB, and his devotion to successful client outcomes is unmatched. I will continue to lean on his leadership, experience and instincts as we guide CRB well into the future.”

New CRB Operations Organization

By combining CRB’s regional and technical teams into a single reporting structure under Kitchell, who previously led the company’s emerging business operations group, the company says it is advancing its integration efforts and how it serves clients. 

“Creating an integrated CRB operations group continues our journey toward becoming a truly united, global organization driven by technical excellence, continuous learning and innovation, with an exciting work environment that keeps employee experience at the heart of everything we do,” Schroeder says.

Before his promotion, Kitchell led CRB’s emerging business operations team, which worked closely with the company’s growth incubator, the Growth Catalyst Program, to identify new initiatives and bring them to market. Chief Strategy Officer Bart Schubert, who created and managed the GCP from its inception in 2019, will assume Kitchell’s previous responsibilities. 

Kitchell has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Before CRB, he served as group vice president of engineering for Shire (now Takeda), where he led the company’s global engineering team of more than 1,600 employees, overseeing engineering and validation operations at multiple manufacturing sites across seven countries and leading the corporate capital program. Before that, Kitchell held engineering senior director and vice president roles at global biotech companies Baxalta and Baxter Healthcare.

“When I arrived at CRB in 2021, I was thrilled by the opportunity to design an EBO group that would develop our most promising business initiatives and prepare them for the marketplace,” Kitchell said. “Over more than two decades, as a client and now an employee, I’ve seen CRB’s entrepreneurial spirit and technical excellence unleashed on some of the world’s most urgent challenges. I’m humbled and honored to take this next step and continue working alongside Ryan and our talented corps of professionals in their critical work.”