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New Simplot CEO, president is a longtime veteran of the Idaho company

Simplot’s new headquarters near JUMP in Downtown Boise.
Simplot’s new headquarters near JUMP in Downtown Boise.

The J.R. Simplot Co. has named a 26-year employee as the company's new president and chief executive officer.

Garrett Lofto, 49, who spent the past nine years as president of the Boise-based company's AgriBusiness group, succeeds Bill Whitacre, who announced his retirement last month after nine years heading the company.

"Garrett is an outstanding leader and has the vision to guide the company into an exciting future," Scott Simplot, chairman of the company’s board of directors wrote in a release. "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."

Lofto, the company's seventh leader since founder Jack Simplot retired in 1973, grew up on a farm in southern Manitoba, Canada, and has lived in Idaho since 2001. He joined Simplot in 1992 as a crop adviser in Manitoba.

He will become president and CEO on Sept. 1. A search will be conducted to find Lofto's replacement at the AgriBusiness group.

Garrett Lofto

He earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Manitoba and a master's in business administration from the University of Phoenix. Lofto is a member of 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.

"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 the release. "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."

Lofto, who also succeeded Whitacre as president of the $2.5 billion AgriBusiness group, initiated and oversaw several major capital expansions while building an industry-leading management team, the company said. The company launched a state-of-the-art ammonia plant during his tenure and recorded significant growth in the company's retail arms, Simplot Grower Solutions and Simplot Partners.

Whitacre, who spent 18 years with the company, expanded J.R. Simplot's global reach. The company increased its revenue from $4.5 billion to $6 billion with Whitacre at the helm.

Whitacre retires after an 18-year career with the J. R. Simplot Company, the past nine as president and CEO.