A National Cotton Council search committee has announced its intention to nominate Mark Lange to succeed Gaylon Booker as the NCC's president and chief executive officer and to elevate John Maguire to the position of senior vice president for Washington operations.

The announcement was made during the general session of the Council's annual meeting in Dallas. The changes would become effective at the February 2003 NCC annual meeting in Tampa. Both the Council's retiring board and the newly elected board endorsed the recommendations.

Booker, who was persuaded to change his retirement plans two years ago to become top staff officer of the U.S. cotton industry's central organization, will be retained in a consulting capacity following the transition in staff leadership.

“The search committee unanimously agreed that the best candidates for filling these positions were already on staff and serving in responsible roles,” said NCC Chairman James Echols of Memphis.

“Mark Lange, in his previous position as director of economic services and in his current position as vice president for policy analysis and program coordinator, has served the industry well. He has demonstrated management and leadership capabilities commensurate with those needed to lead the Council in its fundamental role of consensus building.

“It is widely recognized that in John Maguire, the cotton industry has the most capable government relations professional in the agriculture industry. John has built an impressive record while shaping the industry's strong Washington presence over the past 15 years and will continue to play a pivotal role in the industry's policy development and implementation activities.”

Robert E. McLendon of Leary, Ga., chairman of the NCC Executive Committee who also chaired the committee that developed these recommendations, said, “The industry can feel secure that management of the organization remains in capable hands. The committee also was delighted that Gaylon Booker has agreed to serve in a consulting role in 2003 as the industry continues to deal with some very difficult issues.

The Council's newly elected chairman, Kenneth Hood of Gunnison, Miss., said, “Industry leadership felt it was important to announce these intentions now in order to allay any apprehension about plans for the future.

“This will provide for a smooth transition in staff leadership while Gaylon Booker continues in his present role.”

Lange, who holds bachelor and master's degrees in economics from Indiana State University and a Ph.D. in the same discipline from Iowa State University, joined the Council in 1990.

He served as director of Economic Services until 1994, when he was named director of Economics and Information Services. Lange was elected to his present position in February 2001.

He has served on editorial boards and other committees in several professional agricultural economics associations and currently is a member of the National Agricultural Statistics Service Advisory Committee.

Maguire, responsible for coordinating all Washington activities of the Council, including congressional relations, and working with administration officials, joined the Council staff in 1979 as Far East director for Cotton Council International in Hong Kong.

He assumed additional duties as assistant director of foreign operations in 1982, and the next year he was named director of foreign operations and executive director of CCI. He became head of Washington operations in 1986 and was elected a vice president two years later.

Prior to joining the Council, Maguire was with the Supima Association and with the American Yarn Spinners Association after earning his bachelor and master's degrees in textile engineering at Georgia Tech University.


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