Olson tapped as Toro Company’s next CEO

Updated Aug 23, 2016
Toro RT1200 with combo mountToro RT1200 with combo mount

A 30-year veteran of the company, Richard M. Olson has been named by the Toro board of directors as its next chief executive officer.

Olson, a board member since January and the company’s president and chief operating officer since September 2015, will take over the CEO role from Michael J. Hoffman on November 1. Hoffman will continue to serve in his capacity as the company’s chairman.

“I am pleased and confident in passing the responsibilities of chief executive on to such a strong and tested leader as Rick Olson,” Hoffman said in a prepared statement. “His extensive experience, intelligence and commitment to our company’s core values make him an ideal candidate for his new role.”

Hoffman has been with Toro since 1977, starting by serving in various service, sales and marketing roles before moving up through a series of executive positions. He was elected president in October 2004, CEO in March 2005 and chairman in March 2006.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to continue the storied legacy of our great company that Mike and leaders before him like Ken Melrose and David Lilly helped build through the decades, making Toro all that it is today,” Olson said in a statement. “Like my predecessors, I will rely on the dedication and hard work of the entire Toro family. I look forward to working closely with our talented employees and channel partners to keep our company growing by delivering superior innovation and superior customer care.”

Olson began his time with Toro in 1986 as a manufacturing process engineer. In the time between being named general manager of Exmark brand of mowers in 2010, Olson held various positions in operations and engineering including manager of advanced manufacturing, commercial engineering program manager, director of Shakopee plant operations, and managing director of northern manufacturing operations.

In 2012 he was named vice president of Exmark. In 2013 he was named VP of Toro’s international business before being elected group VP of international business, micro-irrigation business and distributor development the following year.

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Olson earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Iowa State University and an master’s degree in business from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. He serves on the boards of The Toro Foundation and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.