Former Hormel Foods CEO Jeff Ettinger was named interim president by the University of Minnesota Board of Regents Monday following the resignation of Joan Gabel.
Gabel departed the university last month after facing criticism for accepting a paid board position with Securian Financial, which provides benefit services to the university.
Ettinger will serve as president for up to a year while the Board of Regents searches for a permanent replacement.
“Our Board was impressed by the number and quality of candidates who expressed interest in the interim president position. Jeff emerged from that impressive group and we believe the experience and skills that stood out will make for an effective interim leader of our University,” said Board Chair Janie Mayeron.
Ettinger ran as a Democrat for Minnesota’s First Congressional District last year. He lost twice to Republican Brad Finstad, once in a special election and then again in the general election.
On the campaign trail, he vowed to “lead the fight to pass legislation codifying Roe v. Wade into national law.”
“I was moved to run for office in part by the events of January 6th,” Ettinger said on his campaign website.
In addition to controlling the president’s office, all 12 members of the Board of Regents have been elected by DFL-controlled legislatures.
“My family and I have a multi-generational connection to the University of Minnesota and it’s the honor of my lifetime to be chosen for this position and build on that legacy,” Ettinger said in a statement. “I want to express my gratitude to the Board of Regents for their confidence in me and my ability to lead this amazing research university during this critical time in its history.”