The chief executive officer (CEO) of the National Pork Board since 2001, Steve Murphy, has turned in his resignation.

The 15-member Pork Board accepted the resignation with the understanding that Murphy will stay on the job until a successor can be found.

“Steve, in effect, is the only CEO the National Pork Board has had,” explains Lynn Harrison, Pork Board president and a pork producer from Elk Mound, WI. “From the board’s creation in 1986 until 2001, when a court-approved settlement ended the National Pork Producers Council’s role as general contractor for the Pork Checkoff programs overseen by the National Pork Board, the board had only two employees.

“Over the last six years, Steve has built an organization that is the envy of agricultural commodity and other trade organizations,” says Harrison. “We admire the work he has done and thank him for helping us become a board that is now fully prepared to take charge of its destiny. He has melded pork producer leadership with a talented and dedicated staff to create an organization that is issues-driven and results oriented.”

Harrison went on to say that Murphy guided volunteer board members “to think more about strategic vision – to see beyond today’s challenges to tomorrow’s opportunities.

“That ability will be important as we search for a successor, and as we continue to make decisions to improve profit opportunities for all U.S. pork producers. We have some difficult decisions ahead, including how we structure ourselves and our producer committees to continue our success,” he explains.

Murphy’s expertise both in agricultural sales and marketing and in creating successful information technology businesses led to his hiring in 2001. “The board knew it was creating a new organization and it wanted someone with a different skill set than you typically find in the pork industry,” notes Harrison. “It needed someone who knew how to start a business, and to set goals and to inspire people to move forward. Steve has excelled at all of those.”

“It takes a lot of committed people to share a vision, to challenge conventional wisdom, to look beyond today’s problems to try new things. I think we, as a team and as an industry, have been very successful,” Murphy says.

The Pork Board CEO says it has also taken a lot of energy to do the job and he is ready to hand over the reins to someone else. “I am happy to stay on until the board can do that assessment, but it’s time for new leadership.”

Harrison lists a few National Pork Board successes under Murphy’s leadership:

  • Getting the organization to embrace anticipatory issues management;
  • Protecting the future of one of the most successful brands in the country: Pork. The Other White Meat;
  • Reconnecting producers by sharing contributions and visions to accomplish goals they could not achieve alone; and
  • Developing a staff that is accountable to both producers and to sound business principles.