Wendy Watkins promoted to CCO of Hormel Foods

She has led comms at the global food company since joining as VP of corporate communications in 2015.

Wendy Watkins promoted to CCO of Hormel Foods

AUSTIN, MN: Hormel Foods has promoted Wendy Watkins to the newly created position of SVP and chief communications officer for its global operations, effective on Tuesday. 

Based at the company’s headquarters in Austin, Minnesota, she is reporting to chairman of the board, president and CEO Jim Snee.

She is responsible for the company’s corporate reputation, internal and external communications, corporate social responsibility and issues management and oversees its charitable trust, consumer engagement and creative studios.

In a statement, Snee said that as the focus on environmental, social and governance has grown, Watkins has built an effective comms team to elevate the company’s global reputation. He credited her with leading Hormel’s social responsibility efforts and creating the Our Food Journey initiative, a commitment to responsibly producing food and investing in people and communities. The campaign has also produced a podcast featuring well-known chefs, food scientists and entrepreneurs, as well as Hormel employees.

Snee added that Watkins played an important role in Hormel’s COVID-19 response, creating an educational campaign called Keep COVID Out! that was recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The response also included a vaccine campaign called Count Me In! Hormel also hosted town halls with infectious disease experts from the Mayo Clinic. 

The company’s website said that it provides full pay for the first 15 days of coronavirus-related absences with short-term disability coverage for subsequent days of leave. 

The company has also conducted proactive communications encouraging employees to stay home if they are feeling unwell or if they have been exposed to COVID-19. Hormel has paid more than $11 million in special cash bonuses to its plant workers, who continued to produce food during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to its website. 

Hormel said that its corporate communications group has been essential in evolving the company’s reputation as a leading corporate citizen and improving the global food system.

Watkins joined Hormel in 2015 as VP of corporate communications. Previously, she spent 15 years as global VP of corporate communications for Delaware North Companies, a hospitality and foodservice company, and worked at Marriott Corporation in global communications. 

Watkins was a member of the 2021 class of PRWeek’s Hall of Femme

In Q3, Hormel reported net sales of $2.9 billion, up 20% from last year, and an organic net sales increase of 14%, as well as operating income of $207 million, down 17%. 

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