Archived Story

Hormel thriving under current CEO

Published 6:00pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

AUSTIN — Hormel Foods Corp. is having quite a run under CEO Jeff Ettinger.

As the CEO, president and chairman of the board at Hormel since 2006, Ettinger has propelled the company’s standing in the global meatpacking industry: The company’s annual profit has exploded by 74.8 percent since he took the helm six years ago.

Jeff Ettinger

The company, which reported Tuesday a record $500.1 million in profits in 2012, had $286.1 million in profits in 2006. While the company’s total sales have increased substantially during that span, too, it hasn’t been on the same level. Hormel went from $5.75 billion in total sales in 2006 to $8.23 billion last year, a 43.3 percent increase.

Hormel’s annual profit has increased four years running; by 20.1 percent in 2009, 15.4 percent in 2010, 19.9 percent in 2011, and 5 percent in 2012.

Under Ettinger, Hormel has grown through acquisitions, innovations and a diverse portfolio, and 2012 was no different. High grain prices and low pork costs hit Hormel’s refrigerated foods division, which saw a 22 percent decline in profits from 2011. But while that unit declined, the other four picked up the slack, all recording increased profits from 2011, and led especially by its grocery division and the Don Miguel brand of Mexican food, a 2010 acquisition.

Like the company predicted at its annual shareholders meeting in January, that acquisition and a focus on the Mexican market paid off. In the grocery products division, which includes Don Miguel, Hormel reported a 12 percent increase in profits and a 10 percent increase in total sales for the year. However, taking the Mexican brand out of the equation, that division only would have had a 1 percent increase in sales over 2011.

Hormel declined to comment for this story.