Steve Murphy, the chief executive officer of the National Pork Board since 2001, has submitted his resignation to the board.

Lynn Harrison, a pork producer from Elk Mound., Wis., and president of the 15-member National Pork Board, said the board reluctantly accepted the resignation but has asked Murphy to continue until a successor can be found. That process could take up to a year, Harrison said.

"Over the last six years, Steve has built an organization that is the envy of agricultural commodity and other trade organizations," Harrison added. "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."

To sum it up, Harrison said, Murphy pushed "us to be better than we thought we could be. At times, he was a step or two ahead of us, but I know that as volunteer board members who have our own businesses to run that we have learned 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."

Murphy, a pharmacist by training, has extensive experience in agricultural sales and marketing as well as in creating successful information technology businesses. That entrepreneurial experience 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. 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," Harrison said.

In response, Murphy said, "You don’t get many opportunities to create new businesses or organizations. 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. But it also takes a lot of energy and it can take a lot out of people. I think that is why it makes sense now for the board to take stock of where it wants to go next, and then to determine how it wants to get there.  I am happy to stay on until the board can do that assessment, but it’s time for new leadership."

Harrison said a short list of some of the National Pork Board’s successes under Murphy’s leadership includes: 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 with the idea of working together through shared contributions and shared vision to accomplish goals they could not achieve alone; developing a staff that is accountable to both producers and to sound business principles.

Source: National Pork Board