Beth Ford has been named as the President and CEO of Land O’Lakes, an agribusiness company. Ford will become one of the 25 women running a Fortune 500 company after she will take up the office on August 1. One more reason why her appointment is huge is she will be Fortune’s third openly gay CEO. Ford joined Land O’Lakes in January 2012.
The decision has come during a time when the conditions in the agriculture industry are already rough and challenging. Beth is taking over as the company is contending with tariffs on U.S. dairy goods that were put into effect in retaliation for President Trump’s trade war, reported Fortune.
“We’re managing through them quite well,” she said, but “getting to some level of certainty on trade agreements is important. It allows businesses to understand what the rules are and playing field is so that they can manage their business and invest appropriately.”
Ford said that she wasn’t seeking to be a role model, however, “if it gives someone encouragement and belief that they can be their authentic self and live their life and things are possible, than that’s a terrific moment.”
She was previously appointed as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the organisation.
Ford helped the $14 billion cooperative to go beyond the dairy business and made them invest in technology and R&D such as the company’s ag-tech platform, WinField, and satellite technology company, GeoSys.
She explained, “The view is that ag is one of the last industries to be disrupted by technology, and we’re really seeing that. There’s a changing playing field.”
Jill Schurtz, Ford’s spouse or as she describes, “the greatest fortune of her life,” live in Minneapolis with their three teenage children.
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