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AUSTIN, MINN. -- The board of directors of Hormel Foods Corp., based here, has unanimously elected Jeffrey M. Ettinger to be the company's ninth c.e.o. in the 114-year history of the company. The appointment becomes effective Jan. 1, 2006.
Ettinger succeeds Joel W. Johnson, who will retire as Hormel's chief executive, although he will continue to serve as the company's board chairman.
In a statement board member Dr. Robert R.Waller said: "Hormel Foods has been privileged to have Joel Johnson lead the company as chief executive officer for the past 12 years. Johnson's vision and steady hand helped grow the company and provide its shareholders with strong and consistent returns."
Noting his key accomplishments, Waller noted that Johnson has been extremely effective in his role as c.e.o., especially in relation "to orchestrating numerous strategic acquisitions to expand Hormel's presence, refining the company's marketing strategy, and establishing Hormel as a significant player in the ethnic foods marketplace."
Said Johnson: "We built a balanced portfolio of category leaders in both the refrigerated and grocery aisles and have established an excellent track record for bringing innovative products and processes to the marketplace. Our foodservice division leads its industry, and both Hormel Foods international and specialty foods are growing to important status. Jeff Ettinger has been an integral part of our success and is an exceptionally talented leader who will continue to build on our achievements for many years to come."
Ettinger began his career with Hormel Foods in December 1989 as a corporate attorney. He became the Hormel chili product manager in 1995, was named assistant treasurer in 1997, and treasurer in 1998. In 1999 Ettinger was named a v.p. of Hormel Foods and Jennie-O Foods president. He later became president and c.o.o. of Jennie-O Turkey Store when Hormel acquired the Turkey Store Co. in 2001, and then assumed the role of chief executive of Jennie-O Turkey Store in 2003.
Most recently Ettinger was elevated to president and c.o.o. of Hormel Foods and named to the company's board of directors in May 2004.
"In the future, my role will be to build on the many strengths of Hormel Foods, identifying new ways to continue our strong growth by meeting the ever-changing needs of our consumers," said Ettinger.