Jeff Ettinger became the interim president of the University of Minnesota on June 10, 2023.
Most recently, Ettinger had been the chair of The Hormel Foundation board of directors—a position from which he’s taking a leave of absence while leading the U of M. The Hormel Foundation is one of Minnesota’s largest community foundations and grant makers.
Previously, he was CEO of the Hormel Foods Corporation in Austin, Minn., from 2005 to 2016, where he was responsible for a $9 billion annual budget and 20,000 team members. He became CEO of Hormel after 16 years with the company in roles ranging from corporate attorney, marketing manager, treasurer, and president of Jennie-O Turkey Store in Willmar, Minn.
Ettinger has been an executive fellow at the U of M’s Carlson School of Management, where he created and co-taught an agribusiness course with Professor Mark Bergen in fall 2017 and 2018; he was also a regular guest lecturer in Bergen’s pricing class in fall 2020 and 2021. Ettinger has been a guest lecturer at Dartmouth, UCLA, Iowa State, Michigan, Kansas State, and St. Cloud State on topics related to business management, leadership, law, and careers.
In 2021-22 he served as co-chair for the Governor’s Council on Economic Expansion. Ettinger also won the primary election over seven challengers as a candidate for U.S. Congress in Minnesota’s First District in 2022.
Ettinger has served on the boards for a number of public and private companies including Ecolab, Toro, Hormel Foods, Better Futures Minnesota, Southwest MN Initiative Foundation, Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, and Sacred Heart Care Center. To avoid any conflicts of interest, in early June he resigned from the boards at Ecolab and Toro.
He received the Career Achievement Award in 2018 from the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal; was named a Barron’s “World’s Best CEOs” in 2016 and a “Best-Performing CEOs in the World” in 2016 by the Harvard Business Review; and was a Corporate Responsibility “Responsible CEO of the Year” in 2012.
Ettinger received his B.A. degree from the University of California Los Angeles in 1980 and also his J.D. from UCLA in 1983.