A message from President and CEO Beth Ford:
As we all are completing what I know was a challenging summer, I wanted to take a moment and update you on my first month as your cooperative’s president and CEO. I’ve remained focused on our business and the employees who are working to deliver for you each day.In addition, I’ve tried to maintain and deepen my connection with all of you, our member-owners. We had a Board meeting in August which gave me a first chance to update that important group on our progress to-date this year. The meeting was followed by our bi-annual mid-year member meeting where I had my first chance to outline my plans with a larger group of our members. In the last few weeks,
I’ve hit the road visiting your farms and businesses, in an effort to get to know you individually and offer you a chance to get to know me better.
I’ve also been settling in. I’m laser-focused on the business of the business as we set our planning cycle and address the challenges of our operating environment and our competitive set. I’m digging in on how we can better shepherd our resources. Much like we do in our families, we must know what is a “nice to have” and what is a “must have” for our business to progress.
My enthusiasm has not waned. I am both optimistic and realistic. We are going to need to deepen and accelerate our strategy to bring the year in where we want it. We are well-positioned for our future. Our marketplace-back insights will lead us to innovation from the farm to the fork, and that’s how we are going to win.
We also need a strong leadership team to accomplish this goal. This team needs to evolve in an orderly and logical manner, with the appropriate respect and gratitude to everyone involved, and resulting in a more manageable span of control. With that in mind, I’m pleased to announce my leadership team, effective immediately.
Jerry Kaminski has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer, Land O’Lakes, Inc. In this new role, he will lead efforts across the organization to develop, implement and monitor growth strategies and platforms consistent with our collective vision for Land O’Lakes. In addition, Jerry will be responsible for ensuring the enterprise view and capability is leveraged with customers. Working in collaboration with the business heads, Jerry will play point on presenting our comprehensive Land O’Lakes farm-to-fork portfolio to the biggest and highest potential enterprise customers. This role will enable Jerry to facilitate better integration of the businesses with the SUSTAIN offerings, as well. Jerry will continue to have responsibility for International, including South Africa (Villa), Kenya (Bidco) and Canada (Crop Inputs), in addition to additional corporate businesses and functions.
Reporting to Jerry will be Barry Wolfish, SVP, Fuel for Growth and Joint Ventures; Thea Keamy, SVP, Corporate Strategy & Business Development; John Ellenberger, SVP, International Development; Matt Carstens, SVP, SUSTAIN; Heather Anfang, VP, eBusiness Project; John Schmitz, VP, International; Todd Minnihan, VP, Crop Nutrients; Tim Leviny, VP & GM, Asia Pacific/China; Dan Hennessy, VP, CEO, Villa; Herman Githinji, CEO, Bidco; and Greg McDonald, GM, WinField United Canada.
Brad Oelmann, COO, Land O’Lakes Services, has let me know that he would like to relocate back to Iowa with his family and pursue his next career step in that part of the country. I want to thank Brad for his partnership and many contributions to the success of Land O’Lakes, Inc. and our valuable members. We all wish him good fortune in his future.
Teddy Bekele has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer and will report directly to me. As we look to our future, there is perhaps no one thing that will make more of an impact on our business and our members than technology. In his previous role, Teddy was responsible for developing and implementing technology solutions for retail and farmer customers to help them produce more sustainable outputs leveraging agronomic insights from Answer Plot® locations, labs, the Innovation Center and the collective knowledge of the organization. His application of technology and data to the practice of farming has shaped product offerings such as WinField United's R7® Tool, Answer Tech, and ATLAS portal. In this new role, Teddy will focus time and resources to increasing the viability and effectiveness of our technology offerings. Both the Ag Tech and IT organizations will report in to Teddy and he will help align all efforts.
Mike Macrie, CIO, will be leaving the company to pursue opportunities closer to his family. Mike has been instrumental in developing a more robust technology offering for both the company and our members. I want to thank him for his contributions and wish him well.
The business unit leaders, Brett Bruggeman, WinField United and EVP, Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Dave Hoogmoed, Purina Feed and EVP, Land O’Lakes, Inc.; Chris Roberts, Dairy Foods and EVP, Land O’Lakes, Inc. and Lisa Deverell, Feed B2B and SVP, Land O’Lakes, Inc. will continue to report to me in their current roles.
In addition, Sheilah Stewart, SVP & General Counsel, will report to me and take on the added overall responsibility for Security and the Land O’Lakes Foundation and Community Relations. Tim Scott, SVP & CMO, will report to me and take on the added responsibility of Meeting & Events. Loren Heeringa, SVP & CHRO, will report to me and take on the added responsibility of Facilities. Rounding out my management team will be Bill Pieper, SVP & Chief Financial Officer and Yone Dewberry, SVP & Chief Supply Chain Officer. I also will be filling a role of SVP -- Government and Member Relations. Current government and member relations functions will have interim reporting relationships until we have filled the role.
Finally, Mike Vande Logt has let me know of his intention to retire as of Jan. 1. Mike has agreed to stay on until that time to help us transition the ag tech work and will continue to consult on the best direction for ag tech, our AnswerPlot® research and some additional work with key customers. Mike has been a titan in the seed industry for nearly 40 years, 30 of which we’ve been lucky to have him here at Land O’Lakes. He led WinField United through the successful merger and has been key to advancing our ag tech offerings. We will miss him and wish him well when the time comes. Given Mike’s retirement, Forage Genetics International and WinField United R&D will report in to Brett.
I couldn’t be more confident in this team and what they will bring to Land O’Lakes success in the days ahead, as we work on you, our members’, behalf.