There’s a first for everything, and the Land O’Lakes company has hit a major company milestone.
According to HuffPost, the Minnesota-based company has named Beth Ford its new CEO, becoming the first openly gay woman to lead Land O’Lakes in its history. Ford explained her pride in the promotion to CNN, says HuffPost, especially that it’s considered “an important milestone by many LGBTQ rights advocates.”
“‘I made a decision long ago to live an authentic life,’ said Ford, whose resume includes stints at International Flavors and Fragrances, Mobil Corporation, PepsiCo and Pepsi Bottling Company and Scholastic. ‘If my being named CEO helps others do the same, that’s a wonderful moment.'”
While HuffPost points out that Ford joins Apple’s Tim Cook and Dow Chemical Company’s James “Jim” Fitterling as the third openly gay person to take the helm of a Fortune 500 company as its CEO, she is the only woman to do so.
Deena Fidas, director of workplace equality for the Human Rights Campaign, expressed her the magnitude of Ford’s promotion this way:
“This is not a story of someone getting into the higher echelons of leadership and then coming out,” she told CNN. “This is someone walking into this role with her full self.”