Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF) President Larry Black discusses the hiring of John Arthington as interim chief operations officer (COO) and the search for a permanent COO. Harold Browning will leave the COO post at the end of March to work for a private firm.
“Dr. Arthington was highly recommended by several (CRDF) board members (and) past board members,” Black says. “Dr. Jack Payne recommended him and made him available to us on special assignment.” Payne is senior vice president of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS). Arthington is center director at the UF/IFAS Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, but has been on special assignment with Payne’s office since October.
According to Black, Arthington is well respected by producers as well as in the research community. “He’s a great leader,” says Black. “That’s a common theme … People talk about his leadership skills … We just need a good leader to get us through this interim period.”
Last week, the CRDF board of directors spent much time finalizing the position description for a new permanent COO. “It will be posted, hopefully in the coming week, on the University of Florida website,” Black says. “We want to fill the permanent COO position as quickly as possible. But we recognize best-case scenario would be 120 days, most likely 180 days getting a permanent COO named and in place.”
Black also thanks Browning for his years of service. “He did a great job for the industry,” he says. “We’re all disappointed we don’t have more durable solutions (to HLB) that are in the field today,” but adds that the organization has made good progress.
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