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GNP’s CEO to retire, succession plan announced

ST. CLOUD, MINN – The head of GNP Company, a major Midwest producer of natural chicken, has announced plans to retire, and his successor has been named.

hegelson mikejurekChief Executive Officer Michael Helgeson, (shown left) a third-generation leader, said he will retire effective Nov. 3. Steve Jurek, (shown right) current executive vice president of Operations and Administration, will step into the company’s top leadership position of president.

As president, Jurek replaces the CEO position with the same level of authority and responsibility, and reports to Jason Logsdon, CEO of Maschhoff Family Foods, GNP’s parent company, which is based in Carlyle, Ill.

As a member of the Maschhoff Family Foods Executive Committee, Jurek will also help guide the vision of the combined chicken and pork businesses, officials said.

“I wish Mike the absolute best in his retirement, and commend him on the strong company, leaders and team he is leaving behind,” said Logsdon. “Steve’s breadth and depth of experience and leadership make him a strong successor. I congratulate him on his new appointment. He’s a trusted leader within the organization and the poultry industry, with the business and people skills needed to thrive.”

During his 21 years as CEO of GNP, Helgeson led the $400 million company through tremendous change, including:

– Directing the company to nearly triple in sales;

– The successful acquisition and expansion of the company’s Arcadia, Wis., operations;

– The acquisition of GNP Company by Maschhoff Family Foods nearly nine months ago.

– The acquisition of a further processing plant in Luverne, Minn.;

– The successful recovery after a fire at its Cold Spring, Minn., processing plant;

– The launch of fixed-weight scannable products, which revolutionized how fresh chicken is packaged, merchandised and sold;

– The launch of many new products, including the Just BARE brand of chicken offering no antibiotics ever, vegetable and grain fed, and traceability; and value-added Gold’n Plump items like chicken patties and bake-in-the-bag seasoned whole chickens;

“After more than 40 years in the business, I felt the time was right for me to retire,” stated Helgeson. “I’m pleased with the choice of Steve Jurek as President. His strong financial background, drive for business excellence, and commitment to our customers will help the company successfully move forward while preserving the caring culture, community support, and customer-driven focus upon which our company was built. Knowing the company’s future will be managed by a strong leadership team under Steve’s direction, gives me great confidence in the continued success of GNP Company.”

Jurek joined GNP Company in 1977 when the company was known as Gold’n Plump Poultry. He held a variety of positions before being named to his present position in 1997.

wensman timTim Wensman, (lower left) GNP’s executive vice president of Customer Processes (sales, marketing, product management and development, and supply planning), will continue in his role with expanded responsibilities, yet to be finalized, in the leadership of public relations and communications across the Maschhoff Family Foods organization.


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