( Photo and logo courtesy Western Growers; graphic by Amelia Freidline )

Western Growers, Irvine, Calif., has hired De Ann Davis as senior vice president of science.

She has more than 25 years of experience in the development and execution of technical global programs, including food safety, quality assurance and regulatory compliance, according to a news release.

Davis most recently was food safety director of Commercial Food Sanitation LLC, and before that was vice president of quality and food safety for Church Brothers Farms, and vice president of quality assurance and food safety at Earthbound Farm.

She also has been chief food safety officer at the Kraft Foods Group, where she was involved in the regulatory framework of the Food Safety Modernization Act, according to a the release. She vice president of safety, regulatory and sustainability for Alberto Culver and director of global product safety at Kimberly-Clark.

She succeeds Hank Giclas, who recently retired as senior vice president of science, technology and strategic planning after almost 30 years with the organization.

“The retirement of Hank Giclas — a pioneering leader in food safety — created a serious challenge for us in finding the right person to continue and enhance our commitment,” David Puglia, president and CEO, said in the releases. “Fortunately, today we are welcoming De Ann Davis to our team. With her uncommon blend of technical know-how, cross-sector experience, and demonstrated management capacity, De Ann is poised to take this position and drive further value to our members and the broader fresh produce industry.”

She recently was chairwoman of the board of advisors for the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia and was appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Advisory Committee on Microbiological Criteria for Food.

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