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·         Former Hormel President and CEO Richard Knowlton passes away

·         Former Hormel CEO Richard Knowlton Dies



Former Hormel President and CEO Richard Knowlton passes away


Austin Daily Herald (MN)

February 1, 2019


Hormel Foods announced on Friday that Richard L. Knowlton, former Chairman of the Board and President and CEO, passed away.


“Today, we are saddened to learn the news of the passing of Dick Knowlton, former chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Hormel Foods,” current Hormel Foods Chairman of the Board, President and CEO Jim Snee said on the company’s website. “Dick was one of the most beloved and visionary leaders in Hormel Foods 128-year history. His legacy of ingenuity and excellence has left a monumental and enduring impact on our great company. He was an admired and compassionate leader, both at Hormel Foods and in the community.”


An Austin native, Knowlton first joined Hormel Foods in 1954.  In 1979, Knowlton was named president and chief operations officer, and in 1981 was named chief executive officer and chairman of the board. He retired from the role of chief executive officer in 1993 and chairman in 1995.


Snee described Knowlton as “a great leader, ambassador and gentleman”...





Former Hormel CEO Richard Knowlton Dies


Progressive Grocer



Richard Knowlton, former chairman, president and CEO of Hormel Foods, has passed away. He was 86.


One of the most iconic and inspiring executives of the Austin, Minn.-based food processor, Knowlton served in many roles at the company for more than four decades, beginning full-time in 1954 following summers in high school and college working for the company.


Born June 9, 1932, in Austin, Knowlton graduated from the University of Colorado with a B.A. degree in 1954, right before joining Hormel as merchandising manager in Fremont, Neb., while serving two years as a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer. In April 1959, he transferred to Austin and was appointed manager of the Minnesota route car division.


He progressed into a number of roles at the Austin plant during the following years, including manager of route car division sales in 1963, route car division manager for the meat products division in 1967, and assistant manager – soon after general manager – of the plant in 1969.


Knowlton later became VP of the operations group and was elected to the board in 1974, becoming group VP of operations the following year. And four years later, in 1979, he became the new president and COO, moving into the CEO and chairman roles two years later, in 1981. He retired from those two roles in 1993 and 1995, respectively.


Under his leadership, Hormel Foods expanded its offerings and moved from being a commodities-based meat processor to a highly diversified multinational consumer foods company known for its innovation and value-added products for the changing consumer lifestyles. His willingness to create an environment that encouraged entrepreneurial risk-taking led to the introduction of many pioneering products, including shelf-stable, microwaveable foods for adults and children; an extensive line of 97 percent fat-free products; and fresh, health-oriented foods uniquely packaged for convenience and quick preparation.


Under his tenure as president and CEO, Knowlton's vision for Hormel grew the company from $1.4 billion to $3 billion, record-setting net earnings and unprecedented stock performance. Hormel gained in financial strength a record 10 consecutive years of improved net earnings.


Knowlton also was known for his philanthropy...