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The Produce Marketing Association announced Feb. 19 the departure of Lorna Christie, executive vice president and chief operating officer, effective Feb. 28.

Ms. Christie is leaving to pursue her goal of consulting with companies ready to take their next steps in establishing a business model based on integrated strategic communications, including crisis mitigation, management and public affairs, according to a press release issued by PMA.

christieLorna Christie"Through Lorna's dedication and tireless energy, she has been instrumental in creating and leading the development of a new generation of PMA member value," Bryan Silbermann, president and chief executive officer of PMA, said in a press release. "Lorna brought us a unique approach to putting the consumer front and center as we address industry issues, especially food safety and increasing consumption. Lorna has added so much to the quality and professionalism of our association and the insight of our members. She's been instrumental in helping members better understand our consumers and market to them."

PMA Chairwoman Jan DeLyser of the California Avocado Commission added in the press release, "I've worked very closely with Lorna as a PMA member and volunteer leader. I've come to value her counsel and expertise greatly by watching her handle tough assignments with such professionalism. I'm very pleased that she'll continue contributing to our industry and to PMA as a strategic communications consultant because that's an area in which she really shines."

"For the past 11 years, I have had the privilege of serving PMA members from all over the world," Ms. Christie added in the press release. "I have been welcomed in your fields, your stores and your homes. I owe our members a profound debt of gratitude for the inspiration they provided along the way."