Carl Pennington will retire March 31 as CEO of Tully's Coffee, the seventh chief to rotate through that post since Tully's founder Tom O'Keefe relinquished the title in 2001.

Carl Pennington will retire March 31 as CEO of Tully’s Coffee, the seventh chief to rotate through that post since Tully’s founder Tom O’Keefe relinquished the title in 2001.

The news comes after TC Global, Tully’s parent company, warned in a securities filing last fall that it could run out of cash by June.

O’Keefe retired last year as Tully’s chairman, a post Pennington assumed and will keep until the next shareholders meeting, which the company said is expected later this spring.

The new CEO, effective April 1, is Scott Pearson, formerly an executive vice president at Advanced H2O, a bottled water company based on Mercer Island.

Tully’s is a smaller company than it was in 2008, when Pennington took the CEO job after having been a Tully’s franchisee in Idaho and an executive at the grocery chain Albertsons.

It has about 200 cafes but sold its roasting facility and wholesale business in 2009 to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters of Vermont and used part of the proceeds to pay off about $26 million in debt.

It has continued to struggle, losing $5.2 million in the fiscal year ended last March. The company burned through $8.4 million in cash during fiscal 2010, leaving $3.6 million at March 28, 2010.

Melissa Allison: 206-464-3312 or mallison@seattletimes.com