The Toro Company announced July 19 that its board of directors has elected Richard M. Olson to the position of president and chief executive officer, effective Nov. 1, 2016. Olson, a 30-year veteran of the company, has served as Toro’s president and chief operating officer since September 2015 and was elected to the company’s board of directors in January 2016. Toro’s current chairman and chief executive officer, Michael J. Hoffman, will continue to serve as chairman of the board.
In 1986, Olson joined Toro as a manufacturing process engineer. He has held various positions in operations and engineering, including manager of advanced manufacturing, commercial engineering program manager, director of Shakopee plant operations, and managing director of northern manufacturing operations. In 2010, he was named general manager of Exmark and was appointed vice president of Exmark in 2012. In 2013, Olson was named vice president, international business, before being elected group vice president, international business, micro-irrigation business and distributor development, in June 2014.
Reflecting on the coming changes, Hoffman said, “Serving our employees and customers as Toro’s chief executive officer has been the greatest privilege of my career. Our employees’ and channel partners’ passion for the business and relentless commitment to our company and brands have enabled us to accomplish much together. Looking forward, I am pleased and confident in passing the responsibilities of chief executive on to such a strong and tested leader as Rick Olson. His extensive experience, intelligence and commitment to our company’s core values make him an ideal candidate for his new role.”
Hoffman joined Toro in 1977 and served the company in various service, sales and marketing roles before holding a series of key executive positions across the company’s commercial and residential businesses. He was elected president in October 2004, chief executive officer in March 2005, and chairman of the board in March 2006. Hoffman has served on the board of directors of Donaldson Company, Inc., since 2005. He also currently serves on the board of overseers of the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the storied legacy of our great company that Mike and leaders before him like Ken Melrose and David Lilly helped build through the decades, making Toro all that it is today,” said Olson. “Like my predecessors, I will rely on the dedication and hard work of the entire Toro family. I look forward to working closely with our talented employees and channel partners to keep our company growing by delivering superior innovation and superior customer care.”
Olson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial technology from Iowa State University and an MBA from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. He serves on the boards of The Toro Foundation and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.