Caren Wilcox will be the next executive director of the Organic Trade Association.
In an announcement last week, OTA said Wilcox would begin in March, working alongside outgoing ED Katherine DiMatteo, who will remain on board through June to ensure a smooth transition.
"Wilcox has skills in a number of areas important to OTA, including developing effective communications and public policy programs for government, business and academia; association membership development; and strategic planning," the organization said in a prepared statement. "She has handled food safety and quality issues, rural development matters and environmental issues throughout her career."
Wilcox, who was unavailable for comment before press time, came by these skills through her work with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she served as Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety; and with the Hershey Foods Corp. in Hershey, Pa., as its director of government relations. "During her work at USDA she became very familiar with the national organic standards," said OTA President Phil Margolis in a letter to members.
Wilcox has also served as senior adviser to the ranking member on the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee. In that role, she addressed issues such as sustainability, food security, specialty crops, water and energy.
In private practice, Caren Wilcox & Associates LLC has consulted on strategic issues to several land grant universities and to officials at Codex Alimentarius.
"The search committee was impressed with her executive leadership experience and organizational expertise, which will drive OTA's existing programs while developing programs for the growth of the organic business community," Margolis said.