This Fortune 500 Company Just Welcomed Its First Female CEO In Nearly a Century

Beth Ford, CEO Land O'Lakes

Photo Courtesy of Land O'Lakes, Inc.

Leah Thomas
Leah Thomas866
May 28, 2024 at 8:18AM UTC

Land O’Lakes, Inc. named Beth Ford as their first-ever female CEO in the company’s 97 years.

Throughout her career, Ford has worked in six different industries, from publishing to energy. She has been at Land O’Lakes for the last seven years, where she has held several executive positions successfully.

Ford became Chief Operating Officer of Land O’Lakes Businesses in December of 2017. Prior to that, she became the head of the Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition businesses within Land O’Lakes. According to the company, she led record performance and growth in this position.

Before working at Land O’Lakes, Ford held positions at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo, and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. She received her MBA at Columbia University Business School and a BBA at Iowa State University.

Ford will take over on August 1 for Chris Policinski, following his retirement. She will become one of only 24 women CEOs for Fortune 500 companies. Ford's position as female CEO within an agricultural company is noteworthy considering it is a typically male-dominated industry.

While announcing her appointment, Board Chairman Pete Kappelman said, “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 … 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.”

Upon accepting the position today, Ford said, “There has never been a more exciting time to be in the agriculture and food industry. Together, our team will work to continue our growth trajectory, as we lead the way forward into the company’s next 100 years.”

Ford will be the ninth CEO in Land O’Lakes history since it was founded in 1921. She and her spouse, Jill Schurtz, currently live in Minneapolis with their three children.

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