US agri-food group J.R. Simplot has named Garrett Lofto as its new president and chief executive.

Lofto, who has served as president of the firm’s agri-business since 2009 and has been at the company for 26 years, will assume the CEO role on 1 September.

Simplot announced in April current president and CEO Bill Whitacre will retire at the end of August after nine years at the helm. Lofto becomes the seventh CEO since founder Jack Simplot retired in 1973.

Simplot said in a statement Whitacre strengthened the company’s competitive position and global presence during his tenure, when revenues increased from approximately US$4.5bn to US$6bn today. 

Scott Simplot, chairman of the board of directors, added: ”Garrett is an outstanding leader and has the vision to guide the company into an exciting future. We’re well positioned for success across our organisation and the Simplot family and board of directors are confident we’ve got the right leader to help us achieve great things.”

As president of the agri-business group, Lofto oversaw a $2.5bn division and initiated several major capital expansion projects. His major accomplishments include the building and launch of a state-of-the-art ammonia plant and significant growth in Simplot Grower Solutions and Simplot Partners retail arms. 

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