The Most Powerful Women in Food, According to 'Fortune'
Fortune just released its annual list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, and, not surprisingly, three high-ranking food execs made the cut: Beth Ford (President and CEO of Land O'Lakes), Roz Brewer (COO and Group President of Starbucks), and Michele Buck (President and CEO of Hershey). Oprah who received an honorary mention (and the number 51 slot, which is typically reserved for celebrities) also deserves a shout-out for her recent investment in True Food Kitchen, a healthy restaurant chain (her favorite dish there is the Organic Tuscan Kale Salad, just FYI).
The list was compiled by Fortune editors who considered four criteria: "the size and importance of the woman’s business in the global economy, the health and direction of the business, the arc of the woman’s career (résumé and runway ahead), and social and cultural influence." Meet the women leading the food and drink industry, below.
Number 30: Beth Ford, President and CEO of Land O'Lakes
This summer, Beth Ford became the first openly gay CEO to lead a Fortune 500 company (she was promoted into the top job from the chief operating officer role in August). "The Board chose the person they felt best met the criteria to drive success in the business," she said in a statement to CNN. "I realize this is an important milestone for many people and I am pleased to share it." So far, Ford has helped Land O'Lakes look beyond its core dairy business and invest in technology—a smart move, considering the state of the U.S. dairy industry (farmers are currently struggling with the tariffs placed on dairy goods and grain in response to President Trump’s trade war).
Number 33: Roz Brewer, COO and Group President of Starbucks
When Starbucks tapped their director (and former CEO of Walmart's Sam's Club division) Rosalind "Roz" Brewer for this C-Suite role last fall, she had a big task ahead of her: turn around the sales slowdown in the U.S. market. Brewer's plan is to focus on the coffee giant's digital rewards program (membership is up 14 percent year after year) and to rethink the placement of Starbucks outposts (this means closing some in dense urban areas where you can get a PSL on every corner, and opening others in the middle of the country and the South).
Number 42: Michele Buck, President and CEO of Hershey
Michele Buck has been an advocate for healthy snacks since taking the reins at Hershey—earlier this year the candy company bought SkinnyPop maker Amplify Snack Brands for $1.6 billion. That being said, Hershey stock is down, thanks to rising transportation, packaging, and ingredient costs, and, according to Fortune, some investors aren't happy.