Top Executives Named

New company leaders have been named in the retail, equipment, and seed sectors.

  • Bill Whitacre has been named CEO-elect of J.R. Simplot Co. Following a transition period, he will succeed the retiring Larry Hlobik.

Whitacre began at Simplot in March 2000 and was appointed president of the Simplot AgriBusiness Group in 2002. An industry veteran with more than 30 years experience, he has also served as president and CEO of Research Seeds, Inc., a Land O’Lakes subsidiary.

He currently serves as a board member of The Fertilizer Institute, International Plant Nutrition Institute, Nutrients for Life Foundation, and Farm Foundation. He is a past president of the American Seed Trade Association, Western Seed Association, and North American Seed Institute.

As president of the Simplot Agribusiness Group, Whitacre has spearheaded strategies centered on development of new products, new services, and expansion into new geographies. The Agribusiness Group also established new competencies around fertilizer imports under Whitacre’s leadership.

Hlobik will retire after an 11-year career with the company, the past seven years as president and CEO. During his tenure, Hlobik strengthened and solidified the company’s competitive position, with annual revenues increasing from approximately $3 billion dollars to about $4.5 billion today.

  • Harvey Baker is the new chief operating officer for DICKEY-john Corp. Bringing more than 30 years of leadership experience to the ag electronics company, he will be responsible for the overall strategic planning and profitability of the company.

“It’s an exciting time for DICKEY-john and the agriculture industry. As a company, we will continue our commitment to precision agriculture, while expanding our presence in this growing product sector and adjacent markets,” says Baker. “Farmers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) can count on DICKEY-john to provide the high-quality, state-of-the-art electronics they need to lower costs and increase profitability. That’s not going to change.”

Prior to joining DICKEY-john, Baker served as president of Gillis Associated Industries, a division of Leggett and Platt in Chicago, IL. He was also vice president–Enterprise Systems at Labarge, Inc. in St. Louis, MO. In addition, he held the position of vice president of manufacturing and customer service in the Broadcast Division at Harris Corp.

  • Bob George has been appointed chief financial officer for Asoyia, a specialty soybean seed and oil company. The company’s rapid five-year growth necessitates the addition of this new position.

“It’s a great opportunity to build the infrastructure necessary to help this business thrive,” George says. “Even more exciting is that Asoyia provides a healthy product that fills an unfulfilled need in the market.”

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