AUSTIN, Minn. – Hormel Foods announced that James Snee has been appointed CEO of the company, succeeding Jeffrey Ettinger, who will retire Oct. 30, but serve as chairman of the board. Ettinger joined Hormel in 1989 and served as president and CEO from November 2006 to October 2015. Snee’s promotion is part of a succession plan that included his appointment in October 2015 as president and COO of the company. Like Ettinger, Snee’s career with Hormel also began in 1989, when he worked in the foodservice segment before moving into a management position with the Refrigerated Foods segment six years later. In 1996 he was promoted to foodservice area manager and then to foodservice regional manager in 1998. Snee was named director of purchasing and then vice president of the company’s affiliated business units in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Since then, he advanced to vice president of the company and senior vice president of Hormel Foods and president of Hormel Foods International Corporation in 2012.
“It is truly an honor to be elected as the next CEO for Hormel Foods,” Snee said. “This is a remarkable company made up of thousands of inspired employees dedicated to providing inspired foods to our customers around the world. Jeff has guided us with his strategic leadership, brave innovation, unquestionable integrity, and unwavering commitment to our communities and corporate citizenship. It has been a pleasure to work directly with Jeff over the past year, and I look forward to leading the company with this legacy of excellence. I am certain we are well positioned for future success in the years to come.”
Ettinger said, “It has been an honor to lead this great company alongside our dedicated employees around the world. Hormel Foods has a 125-year legacy of delivering quality and innovation, as well as meaningful value to all of our stakeholders. As Jim takes the helm, I am confident that Hormel Foods will continue its growth trajectory as he and the team build on our strong foundation of success.”
Ettinger’s tenure at the company has included holding numerous positions, including senior attorney, product manager for Hormel chili products and treasurer. In 1999, he became president of Jennie-O Turkey Store, the company’s largest subsidiary. He advanced to the role of president of Hormel Foods in 2004. He has been a member of the company’s board of directors since 2004 and currently is on the boards of The Toro Co., Ecolab, Inc., the North American Meat Institute, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Hormel Foundation, the Hormel Institute and the Minnesota Business Partnership.
Under Ettinger’s leadership, the company has grown and diversified with acquisitions including brands such as Wholly Guacamole, Skippy, Muscle Milk, Applegate and Justin’s brands.
“Jeff has expertly piloted the company to significant growth and success during his tenure, leading a talented management team in the delivery of strong and consistent returns to Hormel Foods shareholders,” said John Morrison, the board’s lead director. “While Jeff will certainly be missed, I am equally as confident in the leadership of Jim Snee as he assumes the role of CEO.”
Based on Snee’s performance this past year and his successful 27-year track record with the company, Morrison is confident in his ability to lead the company into the future.
“His excellent performance in this role, along with his successful experience in running the company’s International division and prior significant leadership roles in the affiliated foods and food service units within Refrigerated Foods, positions the company to continue to deliver outstanding results to its shareholders,” Morrison said.