INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, MINN. — John D. Johnson, president and chief executive officer of CHS Inc., will retire at the end of the year. Mr. Johnson has led the nation’s largest cooperative since June 2000. He earlier was president and c.e.o. of Harvest States Cooperatives from 1995 until the June 1998 merger with Cenex, Inc., that formed CHS.

“Under John’s leadership, CHS has become a leader in adding value for farmers, ranchers, rural communities and consumers around the world,” said Michael Toelle, chairman of the CHS Board of Directors and a Browns Valley, Minn., farmer. “During his tenure, CHS has grown as a global grain marketer, strengthened producer connections to international and domestic grain markets and crop inputs, expanded value-added grain processing, and extended its U.S. energy supply presence.”

CHS said its board has named a succession committee that will conduct an extensive search for the company's next president and c.e.o. among both internal and external candidates with a goal of naming a replacement prior to the cooperative’s Dec. 2 annual meeting.

“CHS has a well-established succession plan and talent management program we are confident will enable us to select the right individual to lead this company to continued success in this dynamic global marketplace,” Mr. Toelle said.

Mr. Johnson began his career with former Harvest States in 1976 as a feed consultant in the GTA Feeds Division, later becoming regional sales manager, director of sales and marketing and general manager of GTA Feeds. He was named group vice-president of Harvest States Farm Marketing & Supply in 1992, becoming Harvest States president and c.e.o. in 1995. He currently is on the boards of Ventura Foods, L.L.C., CF Industries, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the Greater Twin Cities United Way.