The chief executive officer of ConAgra Foods, Gary Rodkin likes to make an impact. Under his leadership since 2005, the Fortune 200 company—home to brands including Healthy Choice, Swiss Miss, Egg Beaters, Hebrew National, Hunt’s Tomatoes, Marie Callender’s, Orville Redenbacher’s, PAM, Wesson, and Banquet—has transformed from a holding company for dozens of brands and businesses to a more unified operating company. Rodkin’s work in “driving simplicity,” one of the company’s core operating principles, was featured in the December 2007 issue ofHarvard Business Review. In addition, The Civic 50, an initiative of Points of Light, recently recognized ConAgra, which employs more than 33,000 people, as one of America’s most community-minded businesses for its efforts to eliminate child hunger and improve the quality of life in the communities where it operates.
Prior to joining ConAgra Foods, Rodkin was chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Beverages and Foods North America, where he led the integration of Quaker Foods (including Gatorade, and Quaker cereals and snack bars) into Pepsico. Rodkin was president of Tropicana when it was acquired by PepsiCo in 1998. From 1979 through 1995, he held management positions at General Mills, including president of Yoplait.
Through the Rodkin Family Foundation, Gary and his wife, Barbara DC’76, are strong philanthropists, most recently endowing the Rodkin-Weintraub Chair of Engineering, named for their fathers, and helping to launch the Honors College in New Brunswick. Rodkin’s father and two brothers, as well as Barbara’s sister, are all Rutgers alumni. Since 2006, the Gary and Barbara Rodkin Scholarship Fund has granted scholarships to hourly employees of ConAgra Foods.
Having graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in economics from Rutgers College, Rodkin earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. A Fellow of Executive Education at Harvard Business School, he serves as a member of the Rutgers University Foundation Board of Overseers; a director and past chairman of the Grocery Manufacturers Association; a member of the boards of the Food Marketing Institute and Avon Products; and chairman of Boys Town. He is also a member of the Strategic Air Command Consultation Committee and the Omaha Chamber of Commerce.