Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI), New Ulm, Minn., announced today its president and CEO Ed Welch resigned for personal reasons. Welch, who has been with the dairy marketing cooperative for 31 years, became CEO in 2008.

Last month, Jim Wegner said he will retire in 2016 as President and CEO of the Northwest Dairy Association and its wholly owned subsidiary Darigold Inc., Seattle.

“We are grateful to Ed for his years of service to AMPI and wish him the best,” said Steve Schlangen, chairman of the AMPI Board of Directors and a dairy farmer from Albany, Minn. “In the interim, the board has appointed executive senior vice presidents Donn DeVelder and Sheryl Meshke to share the duties of CEO.”

AMPI is owned by 2,600 Midwest dairy farm families from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota and North Dakota. AMPI members annually market about 5.8 billion pounds of milk, resulting in $2 billion in sales for the cooperative. AMPI owns 10 manufacturing plants and markets cheese, butter and powdered dairy products, serving foodservice, retail and food ingredient customers. It ranks 24th on the Dairy 100, Dairy Foods' list of the biggest dairy processors.

Darigold’s Wegner will retire on Jan. 1, 2016

Wegner plans on retiring on Jan. 1, 2016. Until that date, he will act as Executive Vice President – Special Projects assisting the Interim President and CEO William Krippaehne. Darigold ranks No. 14 on the Dairy 100, with $2.6 billion in sales in 2013.

Wegner joined Darigold late in 2003 as Senior Vice President of Operations and accepted the position of President and CEO in 2011. During his tenure at Darigold, Wegner was instrumental in establishing many initiatives to improve plant operations, implement changes to meet the growing requirements of both domestic and global customers and as a leader to address dairy industry issues, according to a company statement.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Food Science from Washington State University. After graduating, he worked within Safeway’s dairy operations for 27 years. As the President and CEO of NDA/Darigold Wegner has led the organization through periods of unprecedented pricing volatility at a time when the company has been working to expand both domestic and global sales.

Interim President and CEO Krippaehne was the COO and eventually the President and CEO of the former Fisher Cos. Inc. where he worked for a total of 25 years. He earned an MBA in Finance and Marketing Management from Oregon State University.