Bill Whitacre, the chief executive of US-based agri-food giant J.R. Simplot, is to retire in August.

Whitacre has spent 18 years at Simplot, including the last nine as CEO.

He joined the company in 2000 as president of Simplot’s turf and horticulture business. Two years later, Whitacre was appointed president of the Simplot AgriBusiness Group before being named CEO in 2009. He will formally step down on 31 August.

Simplot said it expects to chose its next CEO from internal candidates.

“Bill has been a highly successful and visionary leader who has helped the J.R. Simplot Company reach new heights and expand our global presence,” chairman Scott Simplot said. “The company, the board and the extended Simplot family thank him for his leadership and commitment.”

Simplot’s food processing and packaging division includes the supply of potato and other vegetable products to retailers and foodservice customers in the US and internationally.

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