Beth Ford (courtesy Land O’Lakes, Inc.)

For the first time in U.S. corporate history, a Fortune 500 company named an out lesbian as its CEO.

Land O’Lakes, Inc. named Beth Ford as its new president and CEO. In its announcement, the company wrote, “Beth Ford brings decades of experience across six different industries as the company seeks to build on its track record of sustainable growth.”

Before being named, Ford was Land O’Lakes COO and previously headed the company’s Purina Animal Nutrition division.

“At a time of unprecedented change in the agriculture and food industries, no person is better suited to lead us into the future than Beth Ford,” Board Chair Pete Kappelman wrote in his announcement of Ford’s appointment. “Since joining our company in 2011, Beth has proven she’s not afraid of hard work, and she sees every challenge as an opportunity to deliver more value for our cooperative.”

In the final sentence of the press release, the company wrote, “Ford and her spouse, Jill Schurtz, have three teenage children and live in Minneapolis.”

A couple of gay men head Fortune 500 companies. In 2014, Apple CEO Tim Cook came out and in March this year James Fitterling, who is out, became Dow Chemical’s CEO.

— David Taffet