November 18, 2020 – After a four month search, executive recruitment firm Kincannon & Reed has placed Kailee Tkacz Buller as the new president of the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils (ISEO) in Washington, D.C. ISEO is a trade association representing the refiners of edible fats and oils in the U.S. Managing directors Paul Miller and Michael Cooper led the assignment for the search firm.
Ms. Tkacz Buller, who joins the trade group from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), succeeds Robert Collette who is retiring after serving the organization for 13 years. She begins her new role on Dec. 14.
“We are pleased to welcome Kailee to ISEO. She is a recognized strategic leader and visionary throughout the food industry supply chain,” said Dennis Tagarelli, ISEO advisory committee chair and commercial vice president of AAK USA Inc. “She understands our industry, our customers and is well respected across Washington, DC. She is the ideal person to lead ISEO into our next chapter in this increasingly challenging legislative and regulatory environment.”
An Ideal Choice
“I look forward to building on Bob’s successful legacy and for the opportunity to work alongside ISEO member companies to navigate both the opportunities and challenges ahead for the fats and oils industry in this ever-changing complex customer and regulatory environment,” said Ms. Tkacz Buller. “From the local level to the international level, I will tirelessly advocate for this industry and for the needs of its member companies that represent such an essential component of the food industry supply chain.”
Mr. Collette praised his successor as a highly capable leader for the trade association. “It has been an honor to work for the ISEO organization and its members,” he said. “The support from ISEO’s board and committee members has been incredibly strong resulting in a truly collaborative association-wide effort on advocacy initiatives. Kailee, with her impressive skill-set and experience will be excellent fit and will undoubtedly allow ISEO to not only continue but also expand upon its mission.”
Over the last three years, Ms. Tkacz Buller has served various leadership roles at USDA, most recently serving as chief of staff to deputy secretary Stephen Censky. In that role, she helped drive transformational change and operational efficiencies in human resources, budget, information technology, contracting and customer service across the 100,000-strong employee federal agency. Ms. Tkacz Buller has played pivotal roles in the 2018 Farm Bill negotiations and implementation, renewable fuel policy and departmental strategy on COVID-19. She served as the chief of staff of the Research, Education and Economics Department as well as a policy and congressional advisor to secretary Sonny Perdue.
Prior to her time at USDA, Ms. Tkacz Buller served in a variety of legislative and regulatory leadership roles at the Corn Refiners Association, SNAC International and the National Grocers Association where she oversaw numerous committees, coalitions and policy initiatives. She holds a certified association executive (CAE) credential from the American Society of Association Executives and a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo.
Food, Agribusiness, and Life Sciences
The Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils is a non-profit trade association. Its member companies produce over 21 billion pounds annually of domestic edible fats and oils used in baking and frying fats (shortening), cooking and salad oils, margarines, spreads, confections, toppings and ingredients in a wide variety of foods.
Kincannon & Reed is an executive search firm exclusively focused on food, agribusiness and the related life sciences. Founded in 1981, the company serves clients throughout the world from locations in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The firm’s mission statement: “We recruit leaders for organizations that feed the world and keep it healthy.”
Mr. Miller, global lead for food and ingredients with Kincannon & Reed, engages with start-ups, family businesses, co-ops, private equity portfolio companies and public companies. His engagements benefit from his extensive experience as a senior executive and entrepreneur in food processing. Mr. Miller was previously president and CEO of a small commercial specialty baking company, which he grew into a national player with a tenfold sales increase in nine years. His early career centered on the meat processing industry first as vice president of operations for a regional beef company, and then as vice president/ general manager of the processing division, which he led to record volume, revenues and profits.
Mr. Cooper brings his experience as a senior executive in the food, agribusiness and consumer products industries to clients of Kincannon & Reed in the protein and commodities sectors. Prior to joining the search firm in 2004, he served as president and CEO of Meyer Foods, a branded beef products company, and president of Perdue Farms’ retail products division, and as SVP and GM of Perdue’s food service and international divisions, while concurrently serving as CFO for Perdue Farms’ parent company. Prior to that, Mr. Cooper was SVP/CFO for a large, privately held turkey-products manufacturer and held a number of senior general management and financial leadership roles with the Dial Corp.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media