Land O’Lakes has named Beth Ford as the company’s first female CEO this week, making her the first openly lesbian woman CEO at a Fortune 500 company.
“I am extraordinarily grateful to work at a company that values family, including my own. The Board chose the person they felt best met the criteria to drive success in the business. I realize this is an important milestone for many people and I am pleased to share it.
I made a decision long ago to live an authentic life and if my being named CEO helps others do the same, that’s a wonderful moment,” she added.
While there are lesbian and bisexual CEOs at companies like Inga Beale at Lloyd’s of London and Martine Rothblatt, head of United Therapeutics, there were none before Ford leading Fortune 500 businesses.
Ms. Ford, will take charge of the nearly century-old company next Wednesday. She replaces longtime chief executive Chris Policinski, who retired in June.
Her first tasks will be to help Land O’Lakes and its farmers navigate the fallout of tariffs that Mexico and China have imposed on U.S. dairy products in response to U.S. duties on other goods.