February 25/Food Business Week -- Bill Whitacre has been named chief executive officer-elect of the J.R. Simplot Company.
Following a transition period, he will succeed Larry Hlobik, who has announced his intentions to retire after serving the past seven years as president and CEO.
Whitacre joined Simplot in March 2000 as president of the company s turf and horticulture business. In 2002, he was appointed president of the Simplot AgriBusiness Group.
Whitacre has more than 30 years experience in the agriculture industry. Prior to joining Simplot, he was president & CEO of Research Seeds Inc., a Land O' Lakes subsidiary.
Whitacre currently serves as a board member of The Fertilizer Institute, International Plant Nutrition Institute, Nutrients for Life Foundation and Farm Foundation. He is a past president of the American Seed Trade Association, Western Seed Association and North American Seed Institute.
Scott Simplot, chairman of the Board, said Whitacre was one of several internal candidates considered for the position.
"The board expressed every confidence in Whitacre s ability to lead the company in the years ahead," said Simplot. "He is an effective and visionary leader. As president of the Simplot Agribusiness Group, Whitacre has spearheaded strategies centered on development of new products, new services and expansion into new geographies. The Agribusiness Group also established new competencies around fertilizer imports under Whitacre's leadership."
"I am honored and excited to step into this position," said Whitacre. "The agriculture industry has significant global opportunities. Our integrated business model positions us well to compete effectively and fulfill on our mission statement of responsibly Bringing Earth's Resources to Life."
Hlobik will retire after an 11-year career with the J.R. Simplot Company, the past seven years as chief executive officer. He joined Simplot in 1998 as president of the minerals and chemicals group.
"Bill s leadership within our AgriBusiness Group added fundamental strength to our overall business portfolio," said Hlobik. "I am looking forward to working through this transition with him."
Whitacre will be Simplot's sixth CEO and president since company founder Jack Simplot retired in 1973.
From the February 16, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition