10 Things You Didn’t Know About Land O’ Lakes CEO Beth Ford

Beth Ford is an American businesswoman. In July 2018, she was named as the new Chief Executive Officer of Land O’ Lakes. This is a member-owned agricultural cooperative that is based in Minnesota. While she is well-known in the agricultural industry and in business circles, there are many things that people do not know about this businesswoman. Here are 10 facts that you probably do not know about Beth Ford.

1. She is a Groundbreaking Woman

On her appointment to the position of Chief Executive Officer of Land O’ Lakes, she became the first woman in the company to hold this position. She was promoted to this position to replace the former CEO Chris Policinski when he retired. Her position makes her one of only 25 women running Fortune 500 companies.

2. She Is One of the Most Successful Openly Gay Women in the World

Ford’s appointment to the role of CEO was also significant because of her sexuality. She is the first openly gay woman and only the second openly gay businessperson to become a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. The other person is Apple’s Tim Cook. If James Fitterling takes over Dow Chemical as expected, he will become the third. This has led LGBT activists to predict that her promotion will encourage more business people to open up about their sexuality. Ford says she has never suffered discrimination in the workplace for either her gender or her sexuality.

3. She Has Studied at Two Universities

Beth Ford completed her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) at the College of Business at Iowa State University. She then completed her Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the Columbia Business School at Columbia University.

4. She is a Member of Several Boards

Ford holds the position of board member for several organizations. Since October 2016, she has been a board member of the National Milk Producers Federation. In 2018, she became a board member of both the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

5. She First Joined Land O’ Lakes in 2012

Although she has only held the position of Chief Executive Officer at Land O’ Lakes since 2018, Ford has worked for the company since January 2012. When she joined the company, she was the Chief Supply Chain and Operations Officer for the EVP division of the company.

6. She is Passionate About Women Working in Agriculture

As a woman working in the agricultural industry herself, Beth Ford is passionate about supporting other women working in this industry. This is something she has spoken about in interviews and she is a member of Women in Agribusiness.

7. She Began Her Career at Mobil Oil

Ford joined Mobil Oil in June 1986 and worked there for just under 10 years when she left in January 1996. During her time at this company, she worked in various positions. Other companies at which she worked before joining Land O’ Lakes include Perseco, PepsiCo, Scholastic, Hachette Book Group, International Flavors and Fragrances, and PACCAR.

8. She is Married to Jill Schurtz

Beth Ford is married to Jill Schurtz, who is also a businesswoman. Schurtz is an executive director and the CEO of the St. Paul’s Teachers’ Retirement Fund Association. The couple has three teenage daughters and the family lives in Minneapolis.

9. She Earned Only $2 an Hour in Her First Job

While still at school, Ford had a part-time job and she earned just $2 an hour. However, her mother made her appreciate the opportunity to earn money and encouraged her to work hard for everything she has. Her mother instilled a good work ethic in her and explained that with the opportunity to earn money, there also came expectations that she must fulfill.

10. She Wants to Focus on Technology in Agriculture

In interviews, Ford has said that she wants opinions of agriculture to move away from traditional perspectives as technology is becoming more important than ever in agriculture. She wants to invest more in technology, e-business, and e-commerce as she believes that this is important for her company to keep up with the times. Ford believes that Land O’ Lakes is a technology-focused, and insight-driven business.

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