Top positions assigned to Rietz and Gentzler at The Hormel Foundation

Published 7:00 am Saturday, June 24, 2023

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Board of Directors approves new roles following Ettinger’s appointment as interim president of University of Minnesota


The Hormel Foundation’s Board of Directors approved new executive committee positions for Bonnie Besse Rietz as acting chair and Roland (Rollie) Gentzler as vice chair  in response to Jeff Ettinger’s recent appointment as Interim President of University of Minnesota.

Rietz will be the first woman to hold the top position for The Hormel Foundation, established in 1941, however trailblazing is not new to Rietz. She was the first woman elected to mayor of Austin serving 10 years and the first woman appointed as vice chair of The Hormel Foundation.

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“I am truly honored to support the Foundation and our community in this way,” said Rietz, whose contributions and leadership of programs to strengthen, empower and positively impact people in the community -and beyond- is widely recognized. “The work of The Hormel Foundation is something I deeply appreciate. We have an incredibly talented and dedicated staff and board of directors and we will continue to work together for the benefit of people in our community.”

Earlier this month Ettinger was approved to be interim president by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. Rietz said Ettinger will continue to advise The Hormel Foundation board, but will recuse himself in involvement of decisions related to The Hormel Institute and the major FAARM (Future Advanced Agriculture Research in Minnesota) project.

Expanding his responsibilities for The Hormel Foundation, Gentzler will take on the role of vice chair and also continue to serve as treasurer.  Previously Gentzler was the vice president for Hormel Foods Corp. Finance department and its treasurer. Joining the company in 1976, Gentzler was responsible for financial analysis, risk management, cash management, tax, operations research and credit.

He joined The Hormel Foundation board of directors in 2017, and as treasurer is responsible for overseeing the financial functions of the Foundation.

“We will diligently continue the work of The Hormel Foundation during the time that Jeff is serving as Interim President of University of Minnesota,” Gentzler said. “As chair, he has put people, processes and programs in place to ensure as a team we are stewarding funds and making decisions for the highest and best impact.”

During Gentzler’s board leadership at The Hormel Foundation, he has helped guide the funding of major projects and initiatives for Austin and Mower County including The Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship, Austin Community Recreation Center and Community Action Building.

Steven T. Rizzi Jr., a partner at the law firm of Adams, Rizzi and Sween, will continue to serve as secretary.

The Board of Regents have said they expect Ettinger’s term to last about a year.

“During this time, we will continue to support our dedicated nonprofits to ensure the highest impact can be made,” said Rietz. “And we deeply thank all of Hormel Foods employees who make The Hormel Foundation’s work possible.”