The Center for Food Integrity is proud to announce the appointment of Mickie French to the position of CFI Executive Director.
An accomplished global expert in food value chain communications and marketing strategy, French has extensive experience in the food industry, from agriculture to ingredients to CPG, helping high-profile companies and organizations develop and implement purpose-driven approaches. Her expertise has positioned her as a trusted strategy and innovation partner with a knack for bringing together multiple stakeholders to drive significant impact on critical issues.
“Mickie brings a wealth of experience, energy and insight into her new role,” said Charlie Arnot, CFI CEO. “Her background is an ideal fit for an organization focused on earning consumer trust and collaborating to move the food industry forward.”
“I’m honored to have been chosen to lead this amazing purpose-driven organization,” said French, a Nebraska native who is passionate about tackling the mounting issues facing farmers and the food industry today. “Every step in my career path has led me to this role where I’ll work diligently with our members and beyond to bring together every part of the food value chain, from farmer to consumer, to champion a sustainable food system and face head-on the challenges before us.”
In senior strategic leadership roles with advertising and public relations firms, French has worked with some of the world’s most powerful brands to launch them into new markets or reposition them for growth and success. She has lived and worked in 10 countries and her impressive client roster includes CPG companies such as The Coca-Cola Company, Mars, Inc., Proctor & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, as well as B2B companies including SAP, Honeywell, Visa and myriad healthcare companies. She also led the turnaround of communication agency offices in China, Russia, Australia and Mexico.
An advocate for global education, French has served on the executive leadership committee and various other volunteer committees of The Thunderbird School of Global Management, where she earned an MBA in International Management. She also was a frequent guest lecturer at the Singapore Management University and the Budapest University of Economics.
French, who will work from her home office in the Chicagoland area, begins her new role Mon., May 2. She takes over for Terry Fleck, who announced his retirement late last year. Fleck has served as executive director for 15 years, since the organization’s inception.
“Having helped create and grow CFI, I have both a professional and personal stake in seeing that it remains a strong and vital organization,” said Fleck, who will continue to serve CFI, providing consultation and support as needed. “We’re in good hands. I couldn’t be more impressed with Mickie and all that she brings to the table. Her unique skillset and global perspective will serve this organization well.”
The CFI Board of Directors approved French’s appointment Thurs., March 24.
“Choosing a new executive director for any organization is a significant step, especially filling the shoes of Terry, who has been a phenomenal leader,” said CFI Board President Craig Wilson, vice president and general merchandising manager of Quality Assurance and Food Safety for Costco Wholesale Corporation. “The decision was unanimous, and deservedly so. We couldn’t be more excited to work with Mickie, who we know will lead with excellence and serve with passion for an industry that she knows and loves.”