Whitacre to succeed Hlobik as c.e.o. at J.R. Simplot

by Eric Schroeder
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BOISE, IDAHO — Bill Whitacre has been named chief executive officer-elect of the J.R. Simplot Co. Following a transition period, he will succeed Larry Hlobik, who announced his intent to retire after serving the past seven years as president and c.e.o.

Mr. Whitacre joined Simplot in March 2000 as president of the company’s turf and horticulture business. In 2002, he was named appointed president of the Simplot AgriBusiness Group. Prior to joining Simplot, he was president and c.e.o. of Research Seeds, Inc., a subsidiary of Land O’Lakes.

Mr. Whitacre is a board member of The Fertilizer Institute, the International Plant Nutrition Institute, the Nutrients for Life Foundation and the Farm Foundation. In addition, he is a past president of the American Seed Trade Association, the Western Seed Association and the North American Seed Institute.

"I am honored and excited to step into this position," Mr. Whitacre said. "The agriculture industry has significant global opportunities. Our integrated business model positions us well to compete effectively and fulfill on our mission statement of responsibly Bringing Earth’s Resources to Life."

Mr. Hlobik will retire after an 11-year career with the J.R. Simplot Co., including the past seven as c.e.o. He joined Simplot in 1998 as president of the Minerals and Chemical Group.

The J. R. Simplot Co. is a privately held food and agribusiness corporation based in Boise. The company has annual sales of approximately $4.5 billion, derived principally from food, fertilizer, turf and horticultural, cattle feeding, and other enterprises related to agribusiness. Simplot is one of the world’s largest frozen potato processors, annually turning out 3 billion lbs of french fries and other potato products worldwide. The company also is one of the nation’s largest beef-cattle producers, and ranks as a major agricultural-fertilizer manufacturer, with markets in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

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