Watson, the only executive director in the Orlando, Fla.-based board’s history, will resign at the end of the year, he said.
Watson oversees the marketing, research and industry relations programs of the board, which was created in 2005. His contract runs through the end of 2014.
“The board is a fantastic place to work, and I think mangoes have a fantastic future, but it’s time for someone else to grab it and make it go,” he said.
The board has appointed a subcommittee to find a successor to Watson before his departure.
Bill Vogel, the board’s chairman, praised Watson’s tenure at the helm.
“The mango industry owes a large debt of gratitude for the formation and steerage of the National Mango Board to William Watson,” Vogel said in a board news release. “Under his watch, our fragmented industry became unified, consumption rose markedly, and the board and staff developed a high degree of professionalism.”
Watson said he will likely pursue opportunities with other produce industry trade groups he has talked to. First, though, he plans to take a break.
“For the first 30 days I hope to kayak, hike and paddleboard as much as I can — clear out all the cobwebs.”
Before joining the board, Watson was executive director of the National Watermelon Promotion Board. He also has worked for Texas Citrus Mutual and the Texas Vegetable Association in McAllen, Texas.
Watson began his 26-year produce industry career as a Tyler, Texas-based grower-shipper of onions, watermelons and blueberries. Watson also owned and managed a retail/wholesale produce market.
The board also promoted Kristine Concepcion from communications manager to director of industry relations.
Concepcion joined the board in 2012 as a communications specialist and was promoted to communications manager in 2013.
As director of industry relations, she will continue her communications duties and work more closely with the industry to understand their needs and help educate them about the board’s programs.