Beth Ford becomes first Land O'Lakes CEO in company's history

She will take the reins on Aug. 1.
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Beth Ford Land O Lakes

History was made in Arden Hills on Thursday, when Land 'O Lakes announced it is appointing Beth Ford as its new CEO – the first woman to take the position in its history.

The dairy giant, No. 216 on the Fortune 500 list, says that Ford will assume leadership of the company on Aug. 1, following the retirement of Chris Policinski.

Ford has been at the farmer-owned cooperative since 2011, during which time she was the head of the company's Dairy Foods and Purina Animal Nutrition business, before becoming COO of Land 'O Lakes Businesses this past December.

Prior to joining the Minnesota company, she had executive roles at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Scholastic.

She becomes one of only 25 female CEOs of a Fortune 500 company in the country, and the only one from Minnesota's 19 Fortune 500 companies.

A Sioux City, Iowa native, Ford sits on a number of board of directors including the Greater Twin Cities United Way in Minneapolis.

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"I’m humbled and honored to have the chance to serve this great organization," she 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."

"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," Board Chairman Pete Kappelman said.

"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."

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Land O'Lakes profits rebound in 3Q

Land O'Lakes Inc. posted net income of $18 million in the third-quarter, compared to a $30 million loss a year earlier, the Star Tribune reports. The Arden Hills-based co-op also reported a seven percent increase in sales.