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Hy-Vee Chairman and CEO Ric Jurgens, 62, announced to stockholders at Hy-Vee’s annual meeting yesterday that he plans to retire from the company effective June 1.

Jurgens said he will ask the board of directors at its May meeting to elect Hy-Vee’s current president and chief operating officer, Randy Edeker, to succeed him as Chairman and CEO of the company.

Jurgens has been Hy-Vee’s top officer since 2006, and is a 42-year veteran of the company, starting as a part-time employee in Ames while attending Iowa State University.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have spent my entire career working for a great company filled with great people,” Jurgens said. “It has been an honor to lead a team of nearly 60,000 employees dedicated to our mission of making lives easier, healthier and happier, and I’m proud of the things we have been able to accomplish together as a Hy-Vee family. We have a skilled management group in place to help propel Hy-Vee to even greater heights, so I will leave this summer with a great deal of confidence in the future of the company.”
KC's View:
Jurgens seems way too young and vigorous to be retiring, but perhaps it is a good thing - he can now apply all that energy to something new. He is so passionate about issues like nutrition and labeling that I can easily see him taking on some sort of advocacy role on a state or even national basis.

Or, maybe he just wants to spend the rest of his life hanging out with his family. I can see that, too.

I’ve told this story here before, but a long time ago Mrs. Content Guy and I were seated next to Jurgens and his wife at an industry event. Our kids were a lot younger than his, and we spent a lovely evening chatting about raising children, and I got a lot of good life lessons from him, learning things that I have tried to apply to my own life over the years.

Talking about the importance of nutritional labeling, Jurgens once told me that his goal was “to change the world.” I’m not sure if he has accomplished that (yet), but I know he’s changed a lot of lives through his leadership. And he certainly has had an impact on mine.