Boulevard gets new president, says it’s working to reform policies following controversies


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Boulevard Brewing Company announced its new president Tuesday, after founder John McDonald stepped back in to help the company earlier this year.

McDonald came out of retirement after three company executives resigned amid allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Seraf De Smedt will take over as president of the U.S. organization effective immediately.

Executive Vice President Bobby Duykstra says the company has been working hard to evolve and change its policies.

“We invested in some outside help to help us take a look inside,” Duykstra said. “We were certainly wanting to do that, we needed to do that. That process identified a number of areas for some quick improvement and some long-term improvement.”

McDonald stepped in as interim president to give the company the support it needed after the discrimination allegations surfaced. Now, the title has been passed on to De Smedt, who recently served as the chief finance and administration officer.

Local attorney Lauren Sierra with Jungle Law says she sees these types of cases every day, and applauds Boulevard for being open.

“We love to hear when people take responsibility,” Sierra said. “I think that sometimes owners of companies are afraid that if they take responsibility that’s going to make them guilty, but I think it’s the opposite.”

Employees at the brewery said they are striving to make the founder and Kansas City proud.

“There are a lot of great things happening here and we want to keep them going, but we also need to continue to evolve as a company,” said Duykstra.

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