HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — LeRoy Zimmerman, the former Pennsylvania attorney general who has helped steer Milton S. Hershey's considerable business and charitable ventures in an effort to keep them bound to the community, announced Monday he would leave his post atop the controlling trust company at the end of the year.
Zimmerman informed the Hershey Trust Co. last week that he would not seek re-election to the trust board or his position as chairman.
In a Nov. 22 letter to Robert F. Cavanaugh, who heads the trust's nominating and governance committee, he said he will turn 77 on Dec. 22 and feels it is time to move on.
"I am confident that history will judge us to have been good stewards of Mr. Hershey's Trust," he wrote.
The trust company is the trustee for the Milton Hershey School Trust, which funds the Milton Hershey School for disadvantaged children. While Zimmerman served on the trust board, enrollment grew at the school from about 1,250 students in 2002 to more than 1,850 students.
Last year, the state attorney general's office opened an investigation amid questions about the trust's purchase of a financially troubled golf course. A spokesman for the attorney general's office said Monday that the investigation was continuing but declined to reveal details about it. A spokeswoman for the trust said Monday the investigation had nothing to do with his plans to leave, and Zimmerman has said he believes the trust acted appropriately.
In addition to leaving that board, Zimmerman also plans to leave the boards of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts and the M.S. Hershey Foundation. His terms on all three boards end Dec. 31.
Zimmerman left the board of the Hershey-based candy maker, The Hershey Co., in April.
A Republican, Zimmerman became Pennsylvania's first elected attorney general in 1980. He served two terms, from 1981 through 1989.
He joined the trust board in 2003, installed by Senior Judge Warren G. Morgan and then-Attorney General Mike Fisher as part of a shakeup in which they sought to block the trust board's attempts to sell the candy maker and then purged many of the trustees who voted to sell it. The trustees had said that they wanted to sell the company to diversify the trust's assets.
Zimmerman became the trust's chairman in 2006.
Aside from funding the Milton Hershey School, the Milton Hershey School Trust owns the controlling interest in the candy maker and is the sole shareholder in Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. The Milton Hershey School Trust reported about $7.5 billion in assets to the Internal Revenue Service as of July 31, 2010.
Hershey died in 1945.