Jeffrey Ettinger, chairman, president, and CEO of Austin-based Hormel Foods Corporation, was recently selected as one of four winners of the 2012 “Responsible CEO of the Year” award, which is presented annually by Corporate Responsibility magazine.

Corporate Responsibility said that its awards recognize chief executives who “visibly exceed standards in the areas of employee relations, environmental impact, human rights, philanthropy, and corporate responsibility practices.” The winners were selected by an independent panel of judges comprising previous winners and other industry leaders.

“At Hormel Foods, we approach our corporate responsibility initiatives with a collaborative mindset,” Ettinger said in a statement. “I am honored to accept this recognition, which ultimately speaks to the hard work of our employees and our company’s ongoing commitment to corporate responsibility.”

Ettinger joined Hormel in 1989 and has served in a variety of positions, including senior attorney and product manager for Hormel’s chili products. In 1999, he was named president of Willmar-based subsidiary Jennie-O Turkey Store. He was appointed president of Hormel Foods in 2004 and CEO in 2005.

In Hormel’s most recent corporate responsibility report, Ettinger outlined a series of achievements by the company, including its addition to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, which places it “among the world’s top 10 percent of sustainable companies.” The company also donates funds to hunger-relief efforts in the United States and abroad. To learn more about Hormel’s initiatives, access its corporate responsibility report here.

The three other winners of this year’s “Responsible CEO of the Year” awards are Hikmet Ersek, president and CEO of Colorado-based Western Union Company; Bob Moritz, U.S. chairman and senior partner of New York-based PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP; and Gale Klappa, chairman, president, and CEO of Wisconsin Energy.

The winners will be honored at an awards dinner on October 3 at the Commit!Forum, an annual event in New York City that brings together businesses and individuals to showcase and discuss commitments made to bettering their organizations and communities.

“Corporate responsibility begins at the top,” Richard Crespin, chairman of the Commit!Forum, said in a statement. “This year’s award is unique among business honors as it shines the spotlight on a group of individuals and their organizations that display a commitment to stakeholders and society through positive leadership.”

Last year’s winners included Arne Duncan of the U.S. Department of Education, Jeffrey Joerres of ManpowerGroup, Donald Knauss of The Clorox Company, Fred Krupp of the Environmental Defense Fund, and Paul Rooke of Lexmark International, Inc.

Hormel is one of Minnesota’s 15 largest public companies based on revenue, which totaled $7.9 billion in its most recently completed fiscal year. Earlier this year, Corporate Responsibility named Hormel among the “100 Best Corporate Citizens”; this is the fourth consecutive year it has received the recognition.

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