Richard Kinney, executive vice president of Lakeland-based Florida Citrus Packers Inc., plans to retire June 1 from the post he’s had since 1983.
Kinney publicized his retirement plans during the organization’s May 3 annual meeting in Vero Beach, Fla. Kinney said he plans to remain involved in citrus industry issues and projects.
Peter Chaires, the group’s director of strategic management and business development, plans to succeed Kinney.
A 24-year Florida citrus industry veteran, Chaires has worked for the Florida Citrus Packers since 2005 and plans to retain his role as executive director of the industry’s New Varieties Development & Management Corp.
Kinney said the organization should remain vital with Chaires, who previously worked in the gift fruit shippers association and was executive director of the American Fresh Juice Council, Orlando, Fla.
“These guys I work (packers) for are where the rubber meets the road,” Kinney said. “They’re entrepreneur capitalists who create jobs and value from raw land. That’s what this economy needs.”
Kinney cited his work to open fresh markets to Florida citrus after the discovery of citrus canker disease.
Dan Richey, chief executive officer of Riverfront Groves LLC, Vero Beach, said Kinney’s work in that area was critical.
“He navigated through Washington and Tallahassee to gain market access after we got hit with citrus canker,” Richey said. “He bulldogged that and we owe a great deal of gratitude to him. It wasn’t just a job to him. You have a guy here who has a passion for his work that exceeds the expectations of a trade association.”
During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Kinney was an agriculture liaison and did district work for former Rep. Andrew Ireland, R-Fla., and former Sen. Lawton Chiles, D-Fla.
Note on correction: This story originally incorrectly stated the political party of Sen. Chiles in the last paragraph.