Board Chairman announces retirement
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
LeRoy S. Zimmerman, who over the past nine years guided Milton Hershey School to historic enrollment growth, announced today that he will be retiring from his Hershey-related Board positions at the end of this year.
"My service to Mr. Hershey's legacy has been a privilege, and one of the highlights of my career," said Zimmerman. "I am deeply proud of what we have accomplished, especially of the many additional children we have been able to serve. But I am 77 years old, and it is time for me to retire. I will not stand for reelection to the boards of Hershey Trust Company and Milton Hershey School."
Zimmerman joined the boards of Milton Hershey School and Hershey Trust Company in 2003 as part of a court-ordered reorganization which followed a tumultuous period in the organizations' history. The previous board was widely criticized for a bid to sell The Hershey Company and was seen as having veered from Mr. Hershey's intentions in the Deed of Trust which established the School.
Milton Hershey School is the largest residential school for children in poverty in the nation. Hershey Trust Company is trustee for the Milton Hershey School Trust, which funds the School.
Zimmerman was part of a new team installed to bring the organizations back on track. He was selected in part because of his deep understanding of the many regulatory factors surrounding Hershey Trust Company and Milton Hershey School. Zimmerman was Pennsylvania's first elected Attorney General.
In January 2006, he was elected Chairman of the Board of Managers of Milton Hershey School and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hershey Trust Company.
During his Board tenure, Zimmerman oversaw historic enrollment growth at the School, from about 1,250 students in 2002 to more than 1,850 students today. The School continues to grow, and construction continues on the North Campus developed to serve middle school students. In addition, the School returned to a strong focus on career-technical training for students and enhanced the quality of the academic program. The Board and the administration also implemented programmatic changes, such as the Transitional Living program for high school seniors, to better prepare students for success after Milton Hershey School.
"My greatest satisfaction was the opportunity every year to attend Milton Hershey School's graduation ceremony and see how the School has changed the lives of so many wonderful children. I am proud to say that this Board has made Mr. Hershey's Deed of Trust the centerpiece of its goals, deliberations, and decisions," Zimmerman said. "I am confident that history will judge us to have been good stewards of Mr. Hershey's Trust."
"On behalf of the entire Board, I want to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. Zimmerman for his leadership and wise counsel during this remarkable period of growth and change," said Velma A. Redmond, Vice Chair of the Board of Managers of Milton Hershey School and Hershey Trust Company's Board of Directors. "Because of his good work, the School is well positioned for the future."
"Thanks to LeRoy Zimmerman's leadership, Milton Hershey School is helping to change the lives of more students than ever before. We have implemented a culture of high expectations, and our students are meeting those expectations. What's more, we are in a solid position which allows us to continue to grow well into the future," said Dr. Anthony Colistra, president of the School and a 1959 graduate.
Earlier this year, Zimmerman initiated the first phase of his retirement plan. He announced in February that he would not stand for reelection to The Hershey Company's Board at the April Annual Shareholders' Meeting. Zimmerman had been a director of The Hershey Company since 2007, helping to oversee the financial resurgence of the Fortune 500 confectionary company. The Hershey Company is the Trust's single largest asset.
Zimmerman also will not seek reelection to the boards of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, where he has served as chairman, or the M.S. Hershey Foundation. His terms on those boards end December 31, 2011.
Zimmerman is widely credited with ushering in a new spirit of cooperation among Milton Hershey's legacy companies -- including The Hershey Company and Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. He leveraged those relationships to benefit the School's students, through cost-effective collaborations and extensive internship programs and career development opportunities for students of the School.
Contact: Connie McNamara, V.P. Communications, (717) 520-2212