Feb 13, 2009
Simplot Names CEO

Bill Whitacre has been named Chief Executive Officer–elect of the J.R. Simplot Co., according to the 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, 55, 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 and 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.

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.

Hlobik will retire after an 11-year career with the J.R. Simplot Co., the past seven years as chief executive officer. He joined Simplot in 1998 as president of the minerals and chemicals group. During his tenure, Hlobik strengthened and solidified the company’s competitive position, with annual revenues increasing from approximately $3 billion dollars to about $4.5 billion today.

Whitacre will be Simplot’s sixth CEO and president since company founder Jack Simplot retired in 1973.

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