"After more than 40 years in the business, I felt the time was right for me to retire," Helgeson said in a statement. "I'm pleased with the choice of Steve Jurek as president. His strong financial background, drive for business excellence, and commitment to our customers will help the company successfully move forward while preserving the caring culture, community support, and customer-driven focus upon which our company was built. Knowing the company's future will be managed by a strong leadership team under Steve's direction, gives me great confidence in the continued success of GNP Company."
Helgeson held the CEO post at GNP Company for 21 years. During his tenure, the company's sales nearly tripled. The company also launched many new products, including the Just BARE line of antibiotic-free chicken. Helgeson also is credited with several successful acquisitions such as a further processing plant in Luverne, Minn., and operations in Arcadia, Wis. Additionally, he led the company through its acquisition by Maschhoff Family Foods almost nine months ago.
"I wish Mike the absolute best in his retirement, and commend him on the strong company, leaders and team he is leaving behind," said Jason Logsdon, CEO of Maschhoff Family Foods, GNP's parent company. "Steve's breadth and depth of experience and leadership make him a strong successor. I congratulate him on his new appointment. He's a trusted leader within the organization and the poultry industry, with the business and people skills needed to thrive. I am confident in his ability to lead the growth strategies of GNP Company."
Jurek joined GNP (then known as Gold'n Plump Poultry) in 1977. He has served in a variety of positions before being promoted to his current position as executive vice president of Operations and Administration in 1997. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Metropolitan State Univ., St. Paul, Minn., and a Master of Business Administration with a Finance emphasis from the Univ. of St. Thomas, St. Paul.
"I truly appreciate the confidence and opportunity that are being provided to me by Jason," Jurek said. "I am also very grateful for the many opportunities given to me by Mike and the Helgeson family over the years. The future we've laid out for GNP Company is extremely exciting, and one I am ready to move forward — along with the company's many experienced and talented team members. I am deeply committed to preserving the values upon which GNP Company is built, ensuring successful alignment with Maschhoff Family Foods, and pursuing our vision of becoming the 1st choice for fresh ideas in natural chicken."