USA – President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC), Thomas Sleight has announced plans to retire in the summer when his successor will be appointed by the firm’s Board of Directors.

Tom was named president and CEO of the firm in 2012 after Thomas C. Dorr who also retired from USGC.

He joined the U.S.G.C. in 1983 and has held various roles both in the Washington headquarters and overseas.

He left the Council in 1999 to lead the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ marketing division and later the New York Farm Viability Institute in his home state.

After leaving for stints with other agricultural organizations, he returned to the U.S.G.C. in November 2010 as vice-president of operations and membership.

He has also served in the U.S. administrative side of the Council’s operations, directing its membership, communications and administrative programs.

“I have done what I intended to accomplish, and as I move forward to this new phase of my own life, I am confident the organization is headed in the right direction and poised for continued growth as a relevant, innovative and impactful organization,” said Sleight.

“When I look back at my time with the Council, I have always been impressed by how nimble the organization is, able to turn over rocks and work where the market does not to find global opportunities for U.S. agriculture and the coarse grains sector.

“Keeping and honing this innovative edge and staying closely in tune with our members goals and needs are dual goals the Council must never lose sight of.”

He is said to have led the organisation into new and emerging markets as well as establishing a strong footprint in markets it already exists.

Under his charge, the USGC was awarded nearly $14 million from USDA’s Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) Program and additional funding from USDA’s hallmark market development programs, the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program.

The board has initiated search for the next president and chief executive to be conducted by a committee comprising of representatives from corn, sorghum, barley, ethanol and agribusiness sectors.

“The Board of Directors of the Council has been preparing for this transition for some time, and we have a strong global team in place that Tom has consciously built to be able to take on the challenges of a dynamic market development portfolio,” said Jim Stitzlein, chairman of the Council’s Board of Directors.