Written by David Castellon
California Citrus Mutual will start February with a new president and CEO.
The Exeter-based nonprofitâ€™s board of directors announced that it has voted to appoint its current executive vice president, Casey Creamer, to the top job effective Feb. 1.
Creamer came to California Citrus Mutual (CCM) last February after a national search to eventually assume the role of president. Heâ€™ll succeed Joel Nelsen, who has overseen CCM for the past 37 years.
Lauren Peltzer, a spokeswoman for the organization, said Nelsen is stepping down from his current duties to â€œnarrowâ€ his focus. She didnâ€™t say what his new duties in CCM will be or whether the change is in preparation for retirement.
Nelsen, whose duties have put him in the forefront of federal and state lobbying, as well as global trade issues representing the interests of citrus growers, wasnâ€™t immediately available for comment.
â€œThe citrus industry is very fortunate to have had an individual of Joel’s caliber the last 37 years. That kind of loyalty is not only rare, it’s unheard of,” board Chairman Curt Holmes said in a written statement. “Joel has taken a relatively small industry and has given us a huge voice. We’ve faced many challenges over the years and have addressed them head on with his energy and passion leading the way. We are incredibly grateful to him for his service and we appreciate his willingness to stay engaged in the industry.â€
The statement goes on to say, “We are also very excited to have Casey on board as our new President and CEO.â€
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve,” Creamer said in his own written statement. “I’ve been extremely fortunate to work with some of the best leaders over my career and have nothing but respect and admiration for the job that Joel has done advancing issues important to the citrus industry. I’m looking forward to carrying on the many successful traditions at CCM, while constantly seeking new ideas and pathways to address the significant challenges we face.”
CCM is the only trade association representing California citrus growers on economic, regulatory and political issues. Its 2,500 members represent about 75 percent of California’s 320,000 acres of citrus, a $3.8 billion citrus industry in the state.