A year ago, a Monsanto executive and blueberry farmer took the reins at CHS Inc., the nation's largest cooperative.
As a farm cooperative, CHS leaders have always had rural roots. But until now, they've always come from inside the fold.
"I was the first outsider hired (as CEO) in the history of the company," said Carl Casale, 50, during a recent interview at CHS headquarters in Inver Grove Heights. "When I was interviewing, that wasn't lost on me and it wasn't lost on the board, either."
Now one year into the job, it's so far, so good. Casale's rookie season at CHS was marked by record profits, record revenues, unusually strong commodity prices, dreams of expansion and beating back a growing list of competitive threats.