( File photo )

California’s Citrus Research Board has brought on Franco Bernardi as its interim president.

A native of Lucca, Italy, Bernardi has been in Visalia, Calif., for 28 years and is well known to the research board (CRB), having a seat on the board for 27 years, according to a news release. He was chairman of the board from 1997-99, and has led of number of its committees over the years.

He has also been active on the Central California Orange Growers Cooperative, California Citrus Advisory Committee, California Citrus Mutual and the California Citrus Quality Council.

As of Oct. 15, Bernardi is leading daily staff operations and management of the CRB. The organization has invested in solutions to huanglongbing (HLB).

Bernardi has worked at Del Monte Foods’ ag research division, and senior research associate for the University of Arizona, according to the release. He has served in management for citrus operations that include Superior Farming, Paramount Citrus, Sun World International, Duda Farm Fresh Foods and Agricultural Capital Management.

The new president will succeed Gary Schulz, who was president from 2015-18.