Witt/Kieffer Recruits CEO for International Association of Fairs and Expositions

January 13, 2016 – Executive search firm Witt/Kieffer has placed Marla Calico as president and chief executive officer of International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE). Past IAFE CEO Jim Tucker had announced his retirement after 15 years at the helm.

Jennifer Biehn, a consultant in Witt/Kieffer’s not-for-profit practice, and Gregory R. Santoreprincipal and sports leadership practice leader, led the search. IAFE sought a leader who appreciates the importance of the development and improvement of agricultural fairs, shows and expositions.

“We are pleased and excited Marla is taking over for Jim. We did a very serious national search, conducted several interviews, and are confident Marla is the correct person to take the reins of IAFE at this important time in history,” said John Sykes, IAFE chair. “There is no doubt she has the knowledge, professionalism, and enthusiasm to move the IAFE to an even higher level.”

Ms. Calico joined the IAFE in 2006 as director of education and has served as chief operating officer since 2014. Prior to joining the IAFE professional staff, she served as general manager of the Ozark Empire Fair in Springfield, Mo. She earned her certified fair executive designation in 1988 and in 2003 she served as chair of the IAFE. She was inducted into the IAFE Hall of Fame in 2012.


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Headquartered in Springfield, MO, IAFE is a voluntary, not-for-profit corporation, serving state, provincial, regional, and county agricultural fairs, shows, exhibitions, and expositions.

Witt/Kieffer assists hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, medical schools and physician groups; biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical device companies; colleges and universities and not-for-profit community service and cultural organizations with senior administrative recruiting assignments.

The firm recently recruited the chief foundation officer for the American Quarter Horse Association. Mr. Santore and Ms. Biehn led the search.

Contributed by Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor, Hunt Scanlon Media

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