Chris Novak, currently the chief executive officer of the National Corn Growers Association, will take over as CEO of CropLife America on Aug. 20, replacing longtime CEO Jay Vroom.

“Chris brings a wealth of agriculture trade association and industry experience to CLA, in particular his recent roles as CEO of (NCGA) and National Pork Board,” CLA Chairman Jim Blome said. Blome is Bayer North America president and CEO of the Crop Science Division.

Novak is only the fifth person in the group’s 85-year history to head the staff of CLA, the top trade association for the U.S. crop protection industry. Vroom, who has headed up the association since 1989, announced last fall he would be retiring this year. 

“I’m grateful to the CLA board for their confidence in my ability to step into this leadership role and carry forward a legacy of vision and focus for ag technology into the future,” Novak said, in a news release issued by CLA.

“Farmers and food consumers alike depend on the kind of innovation that CropLife members bring to ag production, whether it be for food, fiber or renewable fuel production,” he said. “The benefits of pesticide products, which also protect public health, are enormous and will only grow as the world population expands and dietary expectations evolve.”

Vroom said in the release that “CLA is fortunate to recruit Chris to lead its staff” and said he had worked with him “on many issues of common interest to our respective associations ... He brings great knowledge and energy to the leadership of CropLife.” Vroom will remain with CLA during an as-yet unspecified transition period.

John Bode, CEO of the Corn Refiners Association, said Novak "has done a brilliant job as CEO of the National Corn Growers Association, where he expanded the organization’s influence and enhanced working relationships throughout the food and agriculture policy community." Bode called Novak  "a great pick to fill the big shoes of Jay Vroom" and said he looked forward to working with him in his new position.

Novak became NCGA’s CEO in October 2014. Before that, he was CEO of the National Pork Board for about six years. He also was executive director of the Indiana Soybean Alliance for a little more than four years, science communication manager at Syngenta for three years, and a special assistant to the CEO of the American Soybean Association for two years.

Additionally, he was director of environmental services at the National Pork Producers Council from 1990-1995, and a legislative assistant to Sen. Charles Grassley from 1987-1990. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University, a law degree from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University.

For more news, go to