ST. LOUIS, MO., Sept. 2, 2014 – The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) announced that Chris Novak will leave the helm of the National Pork Board to become the organization’s next chief executive officer, taking the place of 14-year veteran Rick Tolman, who earlier this year announced his intention to retire from the organization.
“We’re thrilled to have Chris join us at NCGA,” said NCGA President Martin Barbre. “He has all the right qualifications to take the reins of this growing organization and keep it moving in the right direction, continuing the tradition of success we saw under Rick Tolman.”
Novak’s first day as NCGA CEO will be Monday, Oct. 13. He served as chief executive officer of the National Pork Board, a position he has held since October 2008. Prior to that, from 2004 to 2008, he was executive director of the Indiana Corn Marketing Council, the Indiana Corn Growers Association and the Indiana Soybean Alliance. Novak also has served in positions at Syngenta and the American Soybean Association, and worked on Capitol Hill for Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.
“I am very excited about this opportunity to work with a terrific team of grower leaders, state affiliates and the NCGA staff,” Novak said. “With a record corn crop predicted for this year, corn farmers must work together to build new markets that keep up with our increasing productivity. I’m looking forward to working with the team to meet this challenge.”
The National Pork Board’s Chief Operating Officer John Johnson will serve as interim CEO while the organization conducts its search effort.
Novak holds a master’s degree in business administration from Purdue University, a law degree from the University of Iowa and a bachelor’s degree in public service and administration from Iowa State University. Novak and his wife, Julie, have three children.
“Our search committee was impressed with the caliber of candidates, and we faced a lot of tough decisions, but in the end, we knew Chris would be a great fit with NCGA,” said NCGA Chairwoman Pam Johnson. “I’m grateful for the hard work of our search committee and for the guidance of Kincannon & Reed for making this a great process.”
Outgoing CEO Tolman had announced in March that he would be retiring from NCGA at the end of the association’s fiscal year, to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
“NCGA has a great future ahead of itself with Chris as its new chief executive,” Tolman said. “I am extremely confident that he has the experience and expertise to lead it boldly and continue its trajectory as a respected national trade association growing in membership and influence. In the weeks ahead, we will be working together on a smooth and productive transition as corn farmers face continuing challenges from several fronts.”
Tolman joined NCGA in September 2000, having previously served as executive director of the U.S. Grains Council, and has received numerous awards and recognition in his time at NCGA. Later this year, he and his wife, Linda, will relocate closer to family in Utah, where they are building a home.
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