Hormel names Snee 10th president, chief operating officer; Ettinger remains chairman, CEO

Published 10:53 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015

James Snee talks during a press conference Wednesday morning at Hormel Foods Corp.’s north corporate office after he was elected president of the company’s board of directors and chief operating officer.--  Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

James Snee talks during a press conference Wednesday morning at Hormel Foods Corp.’s north corporate office after he was elected company president and chief operating officer.– Jason Schoonover/jason.schoonover@austindailyherald.com

CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Ettinger has some new help at the highest ranks of Hormel Foods Corp.

Hormel announced Wednesday morning that James Snee has been elected company president and promoted to chief operating officer.

“Personally, I’m very honored and humbled to have been elected just the 10th president of Hormel Foods,” Snee said.

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Snee, 48, will officially take the position on Oct. 26. He succeeds Jeffrey Ettinger, 57, who has served as president since 2004. Ettinger will continue to serve as the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.



“Jeff is still chairman and CEO, and from my perspective, I hope that he remains chairman and CEO absolutely as long as he wants to, because he’s done an amazing job leading this organization and really creating this success that we’ve had,” Snee said.

Snee will be the 10th president in the company’s nearly 125-year history.

As group vice president of Hormel Foods and president of Hormel Foods International, Snee led the company’s International segment, which encompasses more than 50 countries outside the United States.

In his new role, Snee will oversee all of the company’s business segments and global operations including Grocery Products, Refrigerated Foods, Specialty Foods, Jennie-O Turkey Store and International, and will continue to report to Ettinger.

“Jim’s vast experience in both our core businesses and our emerging growth markets internationally position him exceptionally well to take on the additional responsibilities of president and chief operating officer,” Ettinger said in a press release. “Jim is a strong leader and has my confidence and the trust of our board. Under Jim’s direction, the international segment has delivered double-digit sales and earnings growth, expanded its global footprint, and driven impressive growth of our operations in China.”

Snee described his own management style as approachable, but very decisive, which he said will be important in his new role.

“It’s a style that’s served me well for 26-plus years, and I think it will continue to do that in the future,” he said.

Snee said a key part of his job will be to serve and work alongside Hormel’s employees.

“Now as we look to the future and my role as president, I’m still very excited about what the future holds for us and the opportunity to work with and for amazing employees here in Austin, around the country, and quite frankly around the world,” Snee said.

Snee touted Hormel’s recent growth in the last few years, which has been boosted by a variety of new products like REV Wraps and acquisitions of companies like Skippy Peanut Butter, CytoSports Holding and Applegate Farms.

He said a key imperative will be to get those companies to deliver as they expect, while also looking to develop new products. He sees the company continuing to grow through a “nice balance of organic, innovative growth combined with growth through acquisitions.”

‘“We’ve had a tremendous legacy of both organic growth and acquisition, and really I don’t see us changing that business model going into the future,” Snee said. “We’ve got an amazing team of innovation folks working each and every day to uncover the next great opportunity, and we’ve had a lot recent success, whether its through REV or Skippy Peanut Butter Bites or Spam snacks.”

While change often implies something is wrong or broken, Snee argued that’s not the case with this move as Hormel seen many recent successes.

“We’ve always been quick to evolve and adapt, and I think we’re a nimble enough organization that we’ll continue to do that,” he said. “I would say I don’t think we’re looking so much to much to change as we are looking to continue to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of our consumers around the globe.”

Ettinger will oversee all staff functions, as all corporate administrative functions including finance, mergers and acquisitions, legal, research and development, supply chain, and human resources will continue to report to him.

“It’s going to be a good opportunity for me to see all facets of our business and allow Jeff to really stay engaged and manage the staff side,” Snee said.

Snee joined Hormel Foods in 1989 in the foodservice division.

“The last thing on my mind that day was that I’d be standing on a podium here today addressing our employees as the 10th president of Hormel Foods,” he said. “It really is an exciting time.”

He served in various positions within the group before being named manager of inventory and distribution for the Refrigerated Foods segment in 1995.

He was promoted to foodservice area manager and foodservice regional sales manager in 1996 and 1998, respectively. Snee was named director of purchasing in 2006 and vice president of affiliated business units in 2008. In 2011, he advanced to senior vice president of Hormel Foods International and assumed his current position in 2012.

Snee earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in marketing from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He received his master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Hormel Foods Corp. timeline of presidents and CEOs

•George A. Hormel, 1891 – Founder and president

•Jay C. Hormel, 1929 – president

•H. H. Corey, 1946 – president, 1954 – CEO

•R. F. Gray, 1955 – president, 1962 – CEO

•M. B. Thompson, 1965 – president, 1968 – CEO

•I. J. Holton, 1969 – president, 1972 – CEO

•Richard L. Knowlton, 1979 – president, 1981 – CEO

•Joel W. Johnson, 1992 – president 1993 – CEO

•Jeffrey M. Ettinger. 2004 – president, 2005 – CEO

•James P. Snee, 2015 – president