“Doug is incredibly consistent in who he is and in his beliefs, which include an enduring faith in people,” says Moore
July 29, 2017
Long-time Wilco Cooperative CEO Douglas Hoffman has announced his retirement at the end of the year, leaving a legacy of wise leadership and strong personal ethics that have created a thriving business, an empowered corporate culture, and a team of dedicated employees.
Hoffman has led Wilco, a farmer-owned agricultural supply cooperative, for the past 23 years. During his tenure, he redirected and reinvigorated the organization to unprecedented financial success, which has directly benefited the cooperatives’ 3,000 member-owners.
Hoffman’s decisions in achieving this goal were not always popular: under his leadership, Wilco divested of several business lines long deemed “sacred cows” – a tire sales business, a grass seed cleaning operation, and a chain of gas stations. Wilco members, and even some board members, initially resisted the change.
“Even when there’s emotional pressure, Doug is focused on making the right business decision, based on performance and potential,” says Sam Bugarsky, Wilco Chief Operating Officer who has been with the cooperative for more than 30 years. “The business lines we exited went back to our origin as a cooperative, but he recognized that there was no long-term profitability in them. He’s always been willing to make tough decisions that ultimately benefit Wilco and our members.”
Under Hoffman’s leadership, Wilco refocused resources on the cooperative’s retail store line, which at the time was not highly profitable but that Hoffman recognized had more long-term viability. Indeed, Wilco’s retail business has grown over the years and delivered…