J.R. Simplot Co.
A 26-year employee is poised to become the next president and CEO of the J.R. Simplot Co. in Boise.
Garrett Lofto, who most recently led the company’s agribusiness group since 2009, will take over the top job beginning Sept. 1. He replaces Bill Whitacre, who retired in April after 18 years with Simplot, including nine years as president and CEO.
“I’m honored and humbled that the board and the Simplot family have entrusted me to lead this great organization as part of the senior leadership team,” Lofto said in a statement Tuesday. “The company is filled with tremendous talent and leaders, and I’m committed to ensuring they have the support they need to make the J.R. Simplot Company the best we can be.”
As president of Simplot agribusiness, Lofto oversaw a $2.5 billion operating division. During his tenure, the company charted significant growth in its retail arms, Simplot Grower Solutions and Simplot Partners, and opened a new state-of-the-art ammonia plant.
Scott Simplot, chairman of the Simplot board of directors, praised Lofto for his vision and leadership.
“We’re well-positioned for success across our organization, and the Simplot family and board of directors are confident we’ve got the right leader to help us achieve great things,” Simplot said.
Lofto was raised on a farm in southern Manitoba, Canada, and has lived in Idaho since 2001. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of Manitoba and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Phoenix.
Lofto joined Simplot in 1992 as a crop adviser for the Morris, Manitoba area. He also serves on the board of directors for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Idaho, the Fertilizer Institute, Nutrients for Life Foundation and the International Plant Nutrition Institute.
Whitacre, who steps down as president and CEO, played a key role in growing company revenues from approximately $4.5 billion to $6 billion, according to the company. Scott Simplot described Whitacre as a “highly successful and visionary leader” who helped the company reach new heights and expand its global presence.
“The company, the board and the extended Simplot family thank him for his leadership and commitment,” Simplot said.
Founded in 1929, J.R. Simplot Co. now has 10,000 employees around the world, with major operations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and China. Products are marketed in more than 40 countries worldwide.
Lofto becomes the seventh president and CEO since company founder Jack Simplot retired in 1973. The company has begun searching for candidates to fill Lofto’s position in the agribusiness division.