Biden Selects Two Minnesota CEOs to Serve on Export Council
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Biden Selects Two Minnesota CEOs to Serve on Export Council

Mike Roman of 3M and Beth Ford of Land O'Lakes will advise the president on trade policy.
Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford Photo by Ackerman Photograpy

On the heels of President Biden’s historic trip to Ukraine, the White House on Tuesday announced that two Minnesota CEOs will join the President’s Export Council.

Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford and 3M CEO Mike Roman will serve on the 25-member panel that acts as the major national advisory committee on international trade.

Based on their extensive knowledge of trade issues, the 25 members will advise Biden and his administration’s leaders on how current and proposed government policies and programs would affect U.S. trade performance.

In addition to promoting increased exports, the White House said in a release that the President’s Export Council “provides a forum for discussing and resolving trade-related problems among the business, industrial, agricultural, labor, and government sectors.”

Exports have long played a big role in the health of the U.S. economy. The Covid-19 pandemic, especially in 2020 and 2021, had a distortion effect on the global economy. Many factories shut down for long periods, consumer demand for products changed as many people worked from home, and supply chain woes made it difficult to obtain some goods in a timely fashion.

Now the global economy is coping with the effects of Russia’s year-old war in Ukraine. In addition, tensions between the United States and China are elevated.

Those geopolitical issues will form a backdrop to some of the discussions that the President’s Export Council will hold.

3M CEO Mike Roman

Ford and Roman became CEOs of their companies in 2018 after being promoted internally.

Ford was an expert in supply chain management when she joined the agribusiness company. The cooperative was founded in 1921 and is owned by farmers and local co-ops. Land O’Lakes had $16 billion in net sales in 2021.

Ukraine is a major producer of agricultural commodities and its farmers have been unable to plant all their acres because of the war. Crop prices for U.S. farmers are affected by worldwide markets.

Land O’Lakes is well-known by consumers for the butter and other dairy products it produces. However, Land O’Lakes also has a large impact on crop farmers, in particular as it has expanded its investment in technology tools that help farmers operate more cost-effectively and more sustainably with the environment. Ford’s board consists of farmers and local co-op managers, so she receives a constant flow of information from people operating farms and doing business in rural communities.

Ford holds an MBA from Columbia University, while Roman earned his master’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California. 3M annually exports about $5 billion worth of goods out of the United States, according to a White House news release.

3M is a huge corporation with $35.4 billion in total sales—including $20.4 billion internationally—in 2021, according to a 3M fact sheet. The company is organized into four business groups—safety and industrial, transportation and electronics, health care, and consumer. Last summer, 3M announced plans to spin off its health care business into a separate publicly traded company. 3M operates in about 70 countries around the world. During his career, Roman has lived and worked in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.