The Land O'Lakes Inc. board of directors named Beth Ford president and CEO of the Arden Hills, Minn.-based cooperative. Ford is replacing Chris Policinski, who retired, and will assume her new role Aug. 1, Land O’Lakes said.
Ford comes to the CEO role after a series of executive postings within the company. In December 2017, she was named chief operating officer of Land O'Lakes Businesses, where she oversaw Land O'Lakes' WinField United, Purina Animal Nutrition and Dairy Foods business units. Prior to that, Ford was head of Land O'Lakes' Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition businesses, where she led record performance and growth, leveraging innovation through R&D to strengthen both brands, the company said. She also was instrumental in the acquisition of Vermont Creamery in early 2017.
Prior to joining Land O'Lakes in 2011, Ford excelled in executive operations management and supply chain roles at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corp., PepsiCo/Pepsi Bottling Co. and Scholastic, Land O’Lakes noted. She boasts more than 20 years' experience in the areas of technology and R&D across those four companies.
Ford also sits on the board of directors for the National Milk Producers Federation, as well as on nonprofit boards that include Greater Twin Cities United Way in Minneapolis. In addition, she sits on the board of two publicly traded companies.
"At a time of unprecedented change in the agriculture and food industries, no person is better suited to lead us into the future than Beth Ford,” said Board Chairman Pete Kappelman. “Since joining our company in 2011, Beth has proven she's not afraid of hard work, and she sees every challenge as an opportunity to deliver more value for our cooperative.
"She's built a track record of success in a wide array of leadership roles across a decades-long career, and in her seven years at Land O'Lakes, she has earned the trust and respect of our members, employees and customers,” he added. “We are thrilled to have someone of such strong qualifications and character to build on the legacy of growth that Land O'Lakes has established."
Ford will be the ninth CEO of Land O'Lakes, which was founded in 1921.
"I'm humbled and honored to have the chance to serve this great organization,” Ford said. “I am grateful to the board of directors for their trust in me and for the management team that built the strong foundation we currently enjoy. I look forward to continuing to work with the talented and dedicated leadership team, as well as our outstanding employees to deliver for our member-owners, customers and communities.
"There has never been a more exciting time to be in the agriculture and food industry,” she added. “Together, our team will work to continue our growth trajectory, as we lead the way forward into the company's next 100 years."