Jim Wegner, president and CEO of  Darigold Inc., will retire on Jan. 1, 2016. Until that date, Wegner will act as executive vice president of special projects, assisting interim president and CEO, William Krippaehne.

Darigold, based in Seattle, Wash., is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Northwest Dairy Association (NDA), a farmer-owned cooperative. NDA is the fifth largest dairy co-op in the U.S., with about 525 dairy farmers marketing approximately 8 billion lbs. of milk. 2013 co-op revenue topped $2.5 billion.

Wegner’s duties will focus on a smooth transition of leadership both within NDA/Darigold and the numerous dairy industry leadership roles in which Wegner has been active. During the immediate transition, he will continue to represent NDA/Darigold interests and provide guidance at the industry-wide level in his roles within the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and the variety of other leadership roles he has played over the years.

Wegner joined Darigold late in 2003 as senior vice president of operations, and accepted the position of president and CEO in 2011. During his tenure at Darigold, Wegner has been instrumental in establishing many initiatives to improve plant operations, implement changes to meet the growing requirements of both domestic and global customers, and as a leader to address dairy industry issues.

Wegner’s career within the food and agricultural industry began as a student at Washington State University where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in food science.  After graduating, he worked within Safeway’s dairy operations for 27 years. As the president and CEO of NDA/Darigold, Wegner has led the organization through periods of unprecedented pricing volatility at a time when the company has been working to expand both domestic and global sales.

As interim president and CEO, Krippaehne brings a long history of leadership experience. As an outside director to Darigold and an advisor to the NDA board of directors for the past six years, Krippaehne has learned a great deal about the company, the cooperative and the industry.

Prior to his joining NDA/Darigold, Krippaehne was the chief operating officer and eventually the president and CEO of the former Fisher Companies Inc., where he worked for a total of 25 years. Krippaehne has earned an M.B.A in finance and marketing management from Oregon State University. He lives in Seattle with his wife Michelle.