WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) announced on June 25 the selection of Thomas N. Sleight as president and chief executive officer (CEO) to replace the retiring Thomas C. Dorr.

Sleight initially joined the council in 1983 and has served in multiple capacities both in the Washington, D.C., U.S., headquarters and overseas. After leaving for stints with other agricultural organizations, he returned to the council in November 2010 as vice-president of operations and membership. Sleight’s cumulative service with the council spans 18 years and includes successful assignments in program operations in the Washington, D.C., office, international program direction in the field, communications, membership and administrative functions.

While he is retiring from day-to-day executive duties, Dorr will continue on a part-time basis with the council as a consultant focusing on a number of long-range initiatives begun during his tenure.

“Tom Dorr has made a tremendous contribution to the council, especially in reorienting us to emerging markets and new opportunities,” said Wendell Shauman, USGC’s chairman. “Tom’s leadership has been responsible for the adoption of a new strategic plan, the beginning of a global realignment of the council’s assets, and very productive engagements at a policy level with China and other countries around the world.”

Dorr joined the council in December 2009 after serving as Agriculture Under Secretary for Rural Development in the Bush Administration. Dorr’s tenure as president and CEO was highlighted by a major expansion of the council’s role beyond its traditional capacity building and trade servicing missions. Recognizing that the most significant impediments to expanded exports of U.S. feed grains are today rooted in policy barriers, the council reached out to partners around the world at a policy level to engage on issues including international acceptance of new crop production technologies, enhancing food security through trade, and expanded export of value added products and corn co-products. To support these efforts, the council also developed and implemented a new long-term strategic plan and a strategic communications and branding initiative.

“I am very proud of what the council has achieved in the last several years,” said Dorr. “The growth of the global middle class is driving and will continue to drive food demand, and both U.S. producers and our competitors around the world are ramping up to meet the challenge. The council’s board of directors deserve great credit for recognizing the need to change. I cannot say enough about the readiness of our staff to step up to the new challenges.”

“The council is expanding its reach and focusing on new priorities and strategic direction set by the board of directors,” said Sleight. “We have made great progress in recent years and I look forward to continuing to create value for U.S. producers and agribusinesses.”