(Feb. 19, 4:15 p.m.) For 13 years, the Charlottetown-based Prince Edward Island Potato Board was led by a single man, Ivan Noonan.

Now the board, which represents more than 360 growers, has its second new general manager in a little over a year.

Greg Donald, a 20-year veteran of the Canadian potato industry, took the reins Feb. 16. Donald replaces Bob Harding, who left Dec. 1 after his one-year contract wasn’t renewed, said Boyd Rose, chairman of the board’s 12-member board of directors.

Rose said the board of directors and Harding mutually agreed not to renew Harding’s contract. Harding joined the board in February 2008.

The board’s assistant general manager, Brenda Simmons, served as interim general manager after Harding’s departure.

Rose said the board of directors was impressed with Donald’s experience, enthusiasm and work ethic.

“He’s not used to 37½-hour work weeks, and we were looking for someone who doesn’t mind putting in the time,” Rose said. “He came across as a fellow interested in a challenge and in leading Prince Edward Island’s No. 1 industry forward.”

Rose expects Donald to develop new marketing ideas to help stem the tide of declining demand for fresh potatoes. In his first year on the job, Donald likely will face rising acreage in North America because of strong 2008 markets, he said.

PEI spud acreage, however, is not expected to go up in 2009, Rose said.

Donald said he looked forward to working with growers on Prince Edward Island, and with growers and officials throughout North America, on problems facing the industry.

“More than ever, it’s important that we all work together,” he said. “We have a lot of challenges, but I feel optimistic for the future.”

Donald worked for the past 14 years in Canada and Maine as an agricultural crop input manager for Cavendish Agri Services, Dieppe, New Brunswick. Before that, he worked for five years for Toronto-based McCain Foods Ltd. in agronomy, production, procurement and field management positions.