Schmidt takes IFIC reins from retiring Rowe

The Board of Directors of the International Food Information Council (IFIC) on September 15 elected David B. Schmidt to succeed Sylvia Rowe as IFIC president and chief executive officer. Rowe has announced her plans to retire at the end of the year, after 11 years of leadership.

“IFIC is fortunate to have had Sylvia at the helm for more than a decade, and under her leadership IFIC has evolved to become a premier science communications organization,” said Celeste Clark, chair of IFIC’s Board of Directors. “With her insight, credibility and consensus-building approach, she has been an exceptional resource for policy-makers, academics, science professionals and the media.”

Among Rowe's many accomplishments during her career at IFIC and the IFIC Foundation include the development of Kidnetic.com, an interactive nutrition and physical activity web site for children and their families to help address childhood obesity. She also pioneered the groundbreaking Food for Thought media research and Improving Public Understanding; Guidelines for Communicating Emerging Science on Nutrition, Food Safety, and Health in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health. Rowe’s understanding of and leadership on food issues in the U.S. and international arenas helped forge partnerships with leading health professional, government, academic and consumer organizations and led to her becoming one of the most world-renown speakers, making science communications understandable for consumers.

Schmidt, who currently serves as an executive vice president of IFIC, will assume his new role January 1, 2006.

“We are equally fortunate to have Dave Schmidt as IFIC’s new leader,” Clark said. “Dave has the vision, the passion and the breadth of experience to help IFIC elevate public understanding of key nutrition and food safety issues, both in the U.S. and globally.”

Schmidt, who will also serve as CEO of the IFIC Foundation, announced that Susan T. Borra, RD, is being promoted to President of the IFIC Foundation, the educational arm of IFIC. This role, effective January 1, will be in addition to her current role as Executive Vice President of IFIC.

“Sue is one of IFIC’s greatest assets,” Schmidt said. “Through attitudinal research she’s led, she has brought the voice of the consumer to public and policy dialogue on food issues. We have only begun to tap the long-term potential of the IFIC Foundation, and I’m confident Sue will have a major impact in the years ahead.”

Schmidt has been with IFIC for 12 years, with initial responsibility for IFIC’s food safety programs. He currently leads IFIC’s activities in nutrition communication, international relations and media outreach.

Prior to joining IFIC, Schmidt served as director of external affairs for the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. There he addressed a number of controversial food safety and nutrition issues, and managed the inspection agency’s media, legislative and consumer education programs. Schmidt also gained a thorough understanding of the food industry in previous sales positions with leading food and beverage firms Oscar Mayer Foods, Pepsi-Cola USA and Canada Dry Corp.

In 1998, Schmidt was named as an adjunct fellow with the Georgetown Center for Food and Nutrition Policy in Washington, D.C. He also serves on the National Advisory Board of the Center for Risk Communication Research at the University of Maryland and participated on the steering committee on Reinventing Agricultural Education for the Year 2020.

Borra has also been with IFIC for 12 years and currently serves as executive vice president, with broad expertise in nutrition and current responsibility for food safety programs. Additionally, she plays a key role in directing the IFIC Foundation, of which Rowe is currently president and CEO.

Borra is past-president and secretary/treasurer of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) as well as past chairman of the ADA Foundation. In addition, she is active with the American Heart Association and the Society for Nutrition Education. Borra also served as a member on the Subcommittee on Interpretation and Uses of Dietary Reference Intakes of the National Academy of Sciences.

Prior to joining IFIC, Borra was director of consumer affairs at the Food Marketing Institute, where she managed nutrition, food safety and consumer affairs programs for the retail food industry.

For additional information on IFIC, visit www.ific.org.

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