Alliance Resource Partners announced this week that Joe Craft, president and CEO of ARLP’s general partner, has assumed the additional role of Chairman of the general partner’s Board of Directors. Craft replaces John P. Neafsey, who retired effective January 1, 2019 after serving as Board Chairman since 1999.

“Jack Neafsey has been a key member of the Alliance team since our initial public offering in 1999,” Craft said. “Jack’s leadership over the years has been invaluable to the growth and success enjoyed by ARLP and he has our deepest appreciation and gratitude for his many contributions. With Jack stepping down, I look forward to assuming this additional role and working to assure Alliance’s continued success.”

Craft was instrumental in the acquisition of the Alliance coal business in 1996 by the Beacon Group from MAPCO Coal Inc., and has served as President and CEO of ARLP’s general partner since its formation and led ARLP’s IPO in 1999. Mr. Craft also served as Chairman, President and CEO of the general partner of Alliance Holdings GP, L.P. (AHGP) since its inception (AHGP was a publicly traded master limited partnership from 2006 until completion of ARLP’s simplification transactions in 2018). He has also been an active supporter of the coal and energy industries throughout his career, and is a Board member and former Chairman of the National Coal Council, a Board Member of the National Mining Association, and a Director and past Chairman of American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.

Alliance also announced that, concurrent with Neafsey’s retirement, Robert J. Druten has been elected to the general partner’s board of directors and will serve as Chairman of its Conflict Committee and as a member of its Audit and Compensation Committees. Druten served as a director of AHGP’s former general partner from January 2007 through December 2018.

“I am pleased that Bob Druten is continuing in an important role with the Alliance team,” Craft said. “Bob’s previous tenure as an AHGP director, in addition to his decades of business leadership, knowledge and experience will serve ARLP well as we pursue our goal of creating long-term value for unitholders.” Druten currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kansas City Southern Industries.